Feature Stories

North Texas DTalks Podcast Tells Us About the Best and Worst Father's Days

Two are dads. One is not. But they all have opinions on fatherhood. From left: Galan Aldaco, Joe Shaw and John Laird.
Two are dads. One is not. But they all have opinions on fatherhood. From left: Galan Aldaco, Joe Shaw and John Laird. Alex J. Martin
The DTalks podcast, based in North Texas, focuses on telling stories about being a father and growing up with (or without) a father. Co-hosts Joe Shaw and Galan Aldaco are fathers, and fellow co-host John Laird is not. The three of them share perspectives on fatherhood to give people a chance to open up about their past, present and future.

Guests have included Dale Hansen, Pete Delkus, soccer players, musicians, comic book artists and an American Ninja Warrior contestant. Whether it’s about the mistakes their fathers made when they were young or the mistakes they make now, it’s an open discussion without judgment. They like to give the perspective on being a father, but they also like to get all kinds of opinions.

“I just want to be genuine,” Aldaco says. “I want people to listen and be like, ‘I can relate to that guy,’ because he has messed up and he has had success. That’s what I like.”

“In today’s age, there’s a lot of negative spins on different stuff,” Shaw says. “The last thing we want to do is add to that. We try to come together and find the positive.”

“We wanted the show to be a celebration of fatherhood while it also was an exploration of all the different things,” Laird says. “Most of that is really natural because we’re all just really interested.”

In honor of Father’s Day, we sat down to talk with the hosts.

What do you remember about Father’s Day growing up?

Galan Aldaco: I didn’t grow up with my dad. My mom and dad divorced when I was 9 months old. Eventually, he moved to Austin, and I would see him once a year. Once in a while, I’d see him on Christmas. So I never got to see him for Father’s Day. I remember my mom would take me and we would buy a cheap tie from K-Mart or Walmart or whatever mart it was in the early ’80s. I don’t think he ever wore those ties because he had no taste in ties. That was the stereotype back then. I would give them, and he’d love ’em. It was never a huge deal because I wasn’t there. When I would celebrate Father’s Day, it was with my grandfather or the uncles that subbed as Father’s Day, but it was never gifts.

Joe Shaw: For my dad, we’d make paper ties and gave that along with a regular tie. It never occurred to me to get him something other than a tie for him. He made it a point to wear it. I bought him a Looney Tunes tie, and he still wore it.

John Laird: When I was young, it was the stereotypical terrible dad gifts. The tie or the socks or whatever. Generally there was the homemade Father’s Day card. Usually Dad got the breakfast or lunch he enjoyed.

As you’ve gotten older, has it reached to a point of, “You don’t have to buy me anything”? You just want to go out to lunch or something like that.

Shaw: It definitely has, especially with my dad. It got to a point where he was like, “I don’t need anything. We can just hang out and go get lunch.” His big thing is we usually go out after church and get lunch somewhere, like a barbecue place or a steakhouse.

Dads always have an arsenal of ties and socks. Why do you think it was the common thing to give them more?

Aldaco: Maybe it goes with the stereotypical, especially in the ’80s, the office thing. Because it’s dress socks and a tie. I can’t remember the last time I wore a tie. [laughs]

Laird: For me, I think it was church.

Aldaco: My dad worked at the Texas attorney general, and so he’d wear suits, so it made sense from a work perspective to get him that.

Shaw: Typically, you’re not getting your father flowers or anything like that. Most other purchases that dads wanted were big electronic purchases. You can’t afford that, so you do the tie. [laughs]

Galan and Joe, what’s Father’s Day been like since you became fathers?

Shaw: Last year was my favorite Father’s Day because my son was about to be born, so he turns 1 on June 23. His due date was on Father’s Day. I didn’t figure he would actually come on Father’s Day, but I was like, “This is cool regardless. This is the best Father’s Day gift I could ever have.” I could get a thousand ties after that. I don’t even care.

Aldaco: My mom lives with us and takes care of our younger daughter. She’s gotten into crafts. Your basic Popsicle sticks stuff. One year, I got my daughter’s footprint in green, and she painted it. It looks like Yoda and says, “Yoda Best Dad.” Last year, my daughter drew two stick figures of us holding hands. For Mom, it’s been very crafty, like salt dough impressions of her hand or foot, something I could stick up on my wall next to my computer or cubicle at work. I don’t get the elaborate stuff my wife gets. I don’t need ties. I don’t need socks. If I wanted those, I’d go buy them.

What’s the worst Father’s Day gift you’ve ever heard of? I think giving a vinyl copy of Harry Chapin’s “Cat’s in the Cradle” would be it.

Aldaco: I’m sure there was a dad who got thrown up on.

John: Or a 14-year-old daughter who’s like, “Happy Father’s Day. I’m pregnant.” [laughs]

Aldaco: Or, “Happy Father’s Day. We’re getting divorced!” [laughs]
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Eric Grubbs is a Dallas-based writer who has published two books, Post: A Look at the Influence of Post-Hardcore 1985-2007 and When We Were the Kids. His writing has been featured in Punk Planet, Popdose, Fort Worth Weekly, The Dentonite and LA Weekly. He supports Manchester City and will never root for Manchester United.
Contact: Eric Grubbs