Sammy first learned about Father's Day from his first grade teacher, Mrs. Armstrong. School was still new and exciting to him, and everything his teacher said became law. As a result, when Mrs. Armstrong told the class that they would need to give a gift in addition to the card they were making in class, Sammy struggled to decide on what would be appreciated and useful to Dad. He couldn't talk to Caleb about getting holy water or ammo without raising questions, and a new gun was clearly beyond the means of a six year old to attain.
Tina Miller in the next row over loudly announced that she and her mom would be making breakfast in bed for Mr. Miller on Father's Day, and Sammy was grateful for the idea. Since Dad had broken his arm chasing down a black dog the month before, he'd been having difficulty performing simple day to day chores. The following Sunday, with more than a little help from Dean, John was presented with slightly runny scrambled eggs, toast, and pulpy orange juice. As he picked up the fork in his uncasted left hand, Dad smiled and thanked Sammy for all his hard work. The handmade card poking out from beneath the plate went unnoticed, and Father's Day wasn't mentioned once that day.
In the hierarchy of Hallmark Holidays created simply to sell cards, Father's Day was pretty high up there. That didn't stop Sammy from making a card every year. He didn't know if Dad appreciated them or not, but Sammy didn't care. Dad and Dean were all he had, and he had to show he cared somehow.
When Sam was thirteen and finishing up middle school, he decided he was too old to be making cards for anyone out of construction paper and crayon. Dad would give him and Dean a little bit of money every couple of months, and while Dean spent his on music or trinkets for his girlfriends, Sam saved his share to buy necessities and the occasional present for his family.
Between supplies for a school project and Salvation Army jeans to fit his rapidly lengthening frame, Sam only had a few dollars left. That was the only explanation for the wobbly-headed geisha doll. For some reason, he decided his father might like the cheaply made toy, with her little bow mouth and black kimono decorated with red flowers. Red flowers hung off the painted-on black hair and swayed rhythmically when her head bobbed.
Dad grinned broadly when Sam gave him the geisha on Father's Day and stuck it on the dashboard of the Impala.
Three months later, a case of mistaken identity caused John to be arrested for a hit-and-run, and the Impala was impounded as evidence. Within days, the error was cleared up, John was released and the Impala returned. The geisha doll was missing from the dash. No one noticed.
After thirteen, Sam started having problems with Dad's authority. A week would rarely go by without a fight and strained silence between the two. Dean started to get a worrying tightness around his eyes anytime Sam and Dad were in the same room together. Dean had suggested to Sam a few times that the two couldn't get along because they were too much alike. Sam never responded to those words.
Despite their overpowering similarities, or maybe because of it, Sam continued to celebrate Father's Day, if in a quieter way than before. He would inscribe protection runes on Dad's car or completely clean and oil the guns when he was asleep. Whatever it took to help him stay alive.
In 2001, Sam forgot about Father's Day for the first time since he'd learned about it. Dad had found out about Stanford and they fought. Dean drove him to the bus station, no words of anger or farewell being spoken in the car.
Sam didn't realize what day it was until the talkative young woman next to him on the bus mentioned she was heading home to surprise her father and wouldn't it be a nice present to have his daughter home? Instead of answering, Sam turned his head toward the window and watched the scenery stream past.
Sam remembered Father's Day every year he was in college. Despite urgings from Jessica the last two years, he never talked to his dad. The closest he got was dialing his number and listening to the voice mail message.
The first Father's Day since Sam went back to hunting was spent in the hospital. Sam had been released already, the only injury remaining being a broken right arm. Dean, despite complaints about feeling fine, was stuck in a hospital room by himself, bitching loudly about the draftiness of his paper gown and the lack of attractive nurses.
Sam had visited him for a couple of minutes earlier, but he left when the hospital's only male nurse showed up to draw blood from Dean. Sam now was sitting in the ICU, left hand shaking slightly as he drew a protective rune on John's forehead with holy water. He didn't really need to whisper the Latin incantation as Dad was still in a coma, but some habits died hard. Dad and Dean were all he had, and he had to show he cared somehow.