After bombarding you with the history of Mother’s Day last month, I would really be shirking my duties if I didn’t offer the same blog space to Father’s Day. Which – as you probably know…is Sunday. You’re welcome. I could have saved the posting of this blog until actual Father’s Day – at which point you may have read the headline and panicked because you had forgotten all about it. But see, I’m a good friend to you, so I’ve given you a few days notice.
I always feel like Father’s Day kind of gets the short end of the stick. I mean, it makes sense to me why it does – women tend to be a lot more ‘in’ to Hallmark Holidays than men are. If you don’t believe me…please refer to any Valentine’s Day. The hype often outweighs the actual day. And if you want to see how much either holiday really means to a lady – just don’t give her so much as a card. You’ll never underestimate the power of a pink envelope again.
So as I suspected, the whole reason for Father’s Day was to give equal recognition to our mothers’ male counterparts. Like, “Oh nuts! What about our Dads?”. This, no doubt was followed quickly by Grandmother’s Day, Grandfather’s Day, Kid’s Day, Pet’s Day and so on.
Just like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day is celebrated on a variety of dates around the world. And, according to Wikipaedia…involves gift-giving, special dinners to fathers, and family-oriented activities. Well, for me, this is only true is my father is actually in weekend visiting distance and not off gallivanting with one camping club or another.
My father taught me that just about anything can be funny. And that the most important person you can laugh at is yourself.
For my dad, this year is going to be a stellar family-oriented activity. I’m taking him to a Father’s Day Grilling Clinic at the Angus Barn. Which is his favorite restaurant. Actually it’s the whole family’s favorite restaurant, I think. As usual, this was supposed to be a pretty simple event – drive up, have our class, head out. But then we all realized that my brother and nephew’s visit started the same weekend so this has become an event of crazy logistics organizing which people would be where at what time and where the camper would be parked when. If there’s one thing my family loves, it’s a project.
My father taught me that you can make a project out of just about anything. Including getting ready in the morning.
Right. Back to the history of Father’s Day. The first observance of Father’s Day took place in Fairmont, West Virginia on July 5, 1908. It was organized by Grace Golden Clayton, who wanted to celebrate the lives of the 210 fathers (downer alert) who had been lost in the Monongah Mining disaster several months earlier. Now, if you remember your times and places…and I’m sure you do…just a few weeks before this was the celebration of the first Mother’s Day, right around the corner.
So while Clayton was probably influenced by that first celebration of Mother’s Day – it also happened that her father’s birthday fell in June ~ thus her pick for the third Sunday in June.
My father taught me that it’s okay to be a Daddy’s girl. Even now that I’m forty.
Clayton actually go totally hosed because her ‘invention’ of Father’s Day wasn’t officially recognized until 1972. In the meantime – all the credit went to a lady named Sonora Dodd out in Spokane, Washington who admittedly started the celebration of Father’s Day in direct response to our old friend Jarvis’ invention of Mother’s Day.
My father taught me that if you do get totally hosed, sometimes it’s just the universe telling you to regroup and get back to the basics.
It wasn’t until someone saw Nixon’s proclamation of Father’s Day, realized the mistake in credit and worked to restore the correct legacy of Clayton’s first Father’s Day service. Of course, in the meantime – back in 1913 – a bill asking for national recognition of the holiday was introduced in Congress. Still, it was a no-go for several years as Congress was worried that this might be yet another holiday to become commercialized. Which makes me think that back then, Congress was a lot smarter than it is now.
My father taught me that farting is funny.
In 1924, Coolidge recommended the day be observed by the nation, but stopped short of issuing a national proclamation. Then things started to get heated….and in 1957, Maine Senator Margaret Chase Smith wrote a proposal accusing Congress of ignoring fathers for 40 years while honoring mothers, thus “singling out just one of our two parents.” Finally, in 1966, Johnson issued the first presidential proclamation honoring fathers, designating the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day. Six years later, the day was made a permanent national holiday.
My father taught me that sneezing out a giant ball of snot is even funnier than farting.
Now, here’s a fun fact ~ in addition to Father’s Day…International Men’s Day is celebrated in many countries in November for men and boys who are not fathers. I don’t get it. Is that just a day to celebrate being a man? Because I think it takes it a bit to the “Aw, c’mon, really?!?!” side of the coin. I mean, it just sounds pretty random – hey, let’s have a day to celebrate me being me. Guess what – that day was already invented. It’s called your birthday.
As with Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Easter, Halloween and, really, any day on the calendar with a special notation…Father’s Day did become commercialized. This day can thank The Associated Men’s Wear Retailers. They were the first to put together a council to help people celebrate. And, while I couldn’t find written proof – I suspect this was also the group that put together a council to help people pick out the appropriate tie to give their fathers on Father’s Day.
My father taught me that ties…well, he just doesn’t wear them anymore. I’m not even sure he has any in his closet. I mean, it was fun when he did – to pick out super unique and humorous ties. But we don’t have that easy out any more. This year I bought him a (nice try, Dad…you’ll have to wait). Anyway, I like the non-tie-wearing version of my dad better.
The council scored – because although people were well aware that they were commercializing Father’s Day, they still felt compelled to participate in the gift giving.
Here’s the trend by the numbers. In 1937 the Father’s Day Council calculated that only one father in six had received a present on Father’s Day. By the 1980s, the Council proclaimed success ~ the one-day event had become a three-week commercial event, a “second Christmas”.
Dad…this does NOT mean you get to hang out a stocking on Father’s Day Eve.
My father taught me that I’ve always got someone to call for advice, laughter and a shoulder. My father taught me that it’s okay for men to cry – especially if it involves animals. My father taught me that he will listen when I need an ear – but that he will also laugh at me as needed, even (or especially?) when I may be making a mountain out of a mole hill. My father not to be afraid to explore ~ a lesson I’m finally just getting the hang of ~ and not to worry if they road you are taking looks a little mucky. My father taught me to always stand by those you love, no matter how much they are driving you completely bananas.
Not that I ever drove him bananas.
That’s just crazy talk.