Today, all across the world, Fathers will be honored by their children, natural, adopted, foster, and those that they took in as one of their own. Did you ever wonder how this Global Remembrance got started?
There are two stories which are attributed as being the origin of Father’s Day.
According to the first tale, it all began in 1910, when Sonora Smart-Dodd of Spokane, Washington, tried to figure out a way in which to honor her dad, a remarkable man, who had single handedly raised six children. Sonora, naturally, loved her dad with all her heart, and wanted everyone to recognize him for what he had done for her entire family. She made the decision to declare day of tribute, a Father’s Day, if you will, on her father’s birthday – June 19.
The next year, Sonora contacted the local churches in an attempt to get them to throw their support behind the celebration, but they simply laughed her off. After that setback, it took a while before Sonora’s proposal once again started gaining attention.
A bill in support of a national remembrance of Father’s Day was introduced in 1913. The bill was approved by US President Woodrow Wilson three years later. The bill received further support from President Calvin Coolidge in 1924.
This brought about the formation of a National Father’s Day Committee in New York within the next two years. However, our Federal Government, not exactly being strong in the pursuit alacrity, took another 30 years before a Joint Resolution of Congress officially recognized Father’s Day. Then, implementation of the bill was postponed another 16 years until President Richard Nixon declared third Sunday of June as Father’s Day in 1972.
The second story of the origin of Father’s Day involves Dr. Robert Webb of West Virginia. According to this version, the first Father’s Day service was conducted by Webb at the Central Church of Fairmont in 1908.
Around my house, we always thought that Hallmark and Walmart invented it.
I have written before about my Father. At the time, I focused on his service in World War II. However, there was more to my Daddy than that. He was an American Hero at home, as well.
Daddy married my mother in 1948. They were both working at Sears and Roebuck at the time, and they were both divorced. My mother had a young daughter from her first marriage, whom Daddy raised as his own.
My beloved sister came along shortly thereafter, and, nine years later, I was born. To this day, I swear that they were going to name me “Oops”.
My earliest memories of my Daddy were of him making me breakfast, while singing hymns around the kitchen. My Daddy sang in church choirs, and had a glorious tenor voice.
My Daddy is the one who made sure that I was in Sunday School every Sabbath morning, and in his own, gentle way, he led me to the Savior.
My father, uprooted us to Florida when I was a toddler, and ran a Pure Oil Station with my uncle Mallory, a Pensacola cop, for a short while. When we returned to my hometown of Memphis, he and my mother went back to work at Sears, where they stayed until their retirement in the early 80s.
My sister used to take me with her to pick up our Daddy, and I would have a big time sitting on the tractors and go karts there in the Farm Store, which he managed.
The great thing about Sears back in those days, was the fact that they had a candy counter. Every payday, he brought home to me “a prize”, of either malted milk balls, chocolate-covered raisins, or fresh, warm cashews.
On the days when Daddy didn’t work, he spent time with me. We would go to Court Square in Downtown Memphis, and feed the squirrels, or he would take me to the Memphis Zoo, and walk me around while I was sitting on top of a pony.
As I got older, he ferried me back and forth to school and school events.
He also was there for me, during all those hours spent in the Doctor’s Office and the Hospital, as I struggled to breathe with severe asthma.
My Daddy’s name for me was “Brother”, as in “Baby Brother”
He loved to say,with a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye,
Hold on to something, Brother. I’m taking the garbage out.
On Saturdays that he was off, our ritual included Saturday Morning Wrestling, at 11:00 a.m., starring the Fabulous Jackie Fargo, Tojo Yamamoto, Don and Al Greene, and some smart-aleck kid named Jerry Lawler.
That was usually followed by a Tarzan or Jungle Jim movie starring Johnny Weissmuller.
I got my love of music and comedy from my Daddy, spending hours watching The Three Stooges, The Ed Sullivan Show, The Jackie Gleason Show, and The Lawrence Welk Show.
If there was one thing, in this life, I was certain of, from the day I was born, until he went to be with God on December 29, 1997, was that my Daddy loved me.
Right now, in America, it is harder than ever to be a Dad. Any male, who is not impotent, can sire a child…as is being proven daily across our country.
However, it takes a man to be a Daddy, a Papa, a Pop, a Pops, somebody’s Old Man, or, simply, Dad.
I’ve had the privilege of having a hand in raising three step-sons, one nephew, and one very special daughter. I would not give back one moment of those experiences for anything that this world can offer.
I was not a perfect role model. I made mistakes. But, looking back, I know, in my heart, that I’ve made a difference in their lives. And I thank the One who made me for that opportunity.
I pray that I was able to pass along at least some of my Daddy’s legacy of Christian Love to those I have had a hand in raising. I now have a 5 year old grandson, whom I get to spoil, every now and then.
Dads…it costs nothing to pay attention….and give love.
Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it. – Proverbs 22:6
Happy Father’s Day!