As the proud father of three wonderful children, I always look forward to Father’s Day with excitement and a touch of fear. I am excited to see what my kids and wife have planned for me and a little afraid that I’ll have to channel Jack Nicholson and “act” like I love the red, white and blue necktie festooned with golf balls, little hamburgers or smiley faces. Before you think I have gone over the edge, I refer to Jack’s acting talent and not his ‘bad dad’ role in “The Shining.” Like many father’s, I have received my share of handprint ashtrays, which I treasure, and bright purple pajamas covered with teddy bears, which I loathe. So this year I have started dropping hints early and I am fairly certain that instead of receiving a bedazzled briefcase, I will get something I can really use, like a Java Coffee Mug or a Slazenger Classic Golf Bag Cover.
Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful to have thoughtful kids who remember me on Dad’s Special Day, which falls on June 21st this year; it’s just that my acting chops have grown rusty and it’s getting harder for me to fool them into thinking I love my new bubblegum colored socks. The fact is, I am lucky to have a day at all. Traditionally celebrated on the third Sunday of June, Father’s Day was first conceived by Mrs. Sonora Smart Dodd of Washington one Sunday in 1909 while listening to a Mother’s Day sermon at the Central Methodist Episcopal Church at Spokane and she arranged a tribute for her father on June 19, 1910. She was the first person to solicit the idea of having an official Father’s Day observance to honor all fathers, but the day had a rocky start and it took many years to make the holiday official. In spite of support from the YWCA, the YMCA and churches, it ran the risk of disappearing from the calendar. Where Mother’s Day was met with enthusiasm, Father’s Day was met with laughter. It was finally made a federal holiday when President Lyndon Johnson issued a proclamation in 1966.
Well, I’ve got to go let my daughter know that I really love the design of the Java Coffee Mug (subtle hints are lost on the Winston clan) and show Mrs. Winston the rip in my old golf bag cover before they go to the mall to purchase a garish tie or one of those silly bears dressed up like a fireman or a doctor. Until next time, I leave you with the wise words of the mother of all fathers, Bill Cosby, who said, “Fatherhood is pretending the present you love most is soap-on-a-rope.”