Some people think Father’s Day is just a phony holiday created by greeting card companies to rake in dough by making sons and daughters feel guilty about not buying over-prices greeting cards with precious sayings like: “You’re My Father – Get Over It!” or “Happy Father’s Day – Can I borrow $50.00?”
In reality, Father’s Day was started by a young daughter with the impressive name of Sonora Smart Dodd in Spokane, Washington way back in 1910. The smart Sonora heard there was already a Mother’s Day and she decided to honor her awesome dad who was a single father. A single father who had raised her and her five siblings.
Politics being what they are, Father’s Day the third week in June wasn’t official until good old Richard “Tricky Dick” Nixon signed it into law in the U.S. in 1972. I think it was inspired by his dog “Checkers” who was like the son he never had.
Money, greeting cards, and politics aside I figure Father’s Day is as good an excuse as any for a special day. Even if you aren’t a father or perhaps not even a male person, we all have at least one dad, and most of them are certainly worth an awful lot of public cherishment.
I cherish when my own Dad was alive many years ago now, and we would go to the annual Boy Scouts Father and Son Banquet and it was such a huge deal I couldn’t sleep for a week before and a week after. Dad was a sort of shy, quiet soul and one of the only person I’ve ever heard of who made his living as a buttermaker. You could say it was his bread and butter. (Sorry.) I can see him now at the big butter churn at Union Milk dipping his finger into the mound of yellow, taking a taste test (I would go: “Eewww”) and then deftly scooping just the right amount with a big wooden paddle to form one pound butter blocks in rectangular wooden molds. He would whip that stuff around like it was, um, like it was butter.
After he bought me my first motorbike, I would give him rides to work from Parkvale to the creamery – Dad towering over me on the tiny passenger seat in his white coveralls, the little Honda 50 wobbling along precariously, the engine screaming away, struggling to whisk us along at 18 miles an hour. Dad could have walked there faster. But it wouldn’t have been nearly as much fun for either of us.
A million or two memories that’s for sure, and Father’s Day notwithstanding, I think of him and Mom every single day.
And I’m privileged also enough to be one of those who enjoys that special day from a different direction, on account of two Rotten Kids of my own. I clearly remember one Father’s Day when the Better Half and our two munchinoids surprised me by lugging a car-full of big grey blocks into the back yard for me. From then on to this day we’ve had countless family fire pit sessions solving the world’s problems – and it all started on a long-ago Father’s Day.
I treasure many Father’s Days celebrating at my favorite restaurant, waiting in line forever because everyone else was taking their own fathers out to the same favorite restaurant. Time perfectly spent.
Now both Rotten Kids are off on adventures most of the time, literally all over the world, but I know I’ll get Father’s Day wishes and restaurant rainchecks and love from wherever they are.
Besides, when you have the BH and RKs that I have, every day is Father’s Day.
Harley Hay is a local writer and filmmaker.