The moving, true story of a boy's search for father figures.
Kevin Sweeney grew up in a big Irish Catholic family in San Bruno, California, near San Francisco. His father, a street sweeper, died in 1962 when Sweeney was three, leaving his mother with six children to feed and little in the way of income - or energy.
When Sweeney was seven, having watched a parade of perfect television fathers, he began to worry about what he might lack as a boy who grew up without a father. He made a secret plan: he picked out three men from his working-class community - family friends who were around and observable - and decided that he would learn from them how to be a father. None of them would know about their surrogacy.
He watched the three men - Jim Gaffney, Sherm Heaney, and Chick Kelly - for many years. When their families got together, he would loiter in the living room with the grown-ups, watching the fathers go about their business. He watched the dads in the park with their sons. He watched how they treated their wives. He observed when one of them, a butcher, brought six months' worth of meat for his mother - the only meat the family would eat. This is his story.