Curiosity got the better of me as I lay awake last night thinking of the story my daughter told me about my youngest grand-daughter’s Father’s Day card to her Dad. It was a project at school where the children were all given cards and asked to fill in answers to the questions. What is your Father’s name; How tall is he; what does he weigh and so on. The answers as you can imagine were hilarious. She got the name right but apparently my son-in-law is 10 inches tall, weighs 16 pounds and is eighteen years old.
Of course every man nearing forty, or even sixty four, thinks he’s eighteen so not far off there, as this photo of my grand-daughter and I clearly shows.
So anyway, back to thinking about Father’s Day and the idea that came to Mrs Sonora Smart Dodd a resident of Spokane Washington in 1910. She campaigned for a National holiday to honour fathers, gave up on the idea for a while and then carried on after leaving Art School. Congress squashed the idea because they didn’t want to appear as if they were promoting themselves, as they were all men and so it wasn’t until 1972 that President “Tricky Dicky” Nixon signed the Bill for an official Father’s Day.
Thank you Mrs Dodd.
Mother’s Day on the other hand, has a long historical background tracing itself to a time before the Greeks adopted the cult of Cybele. The Romans stole the Greek version and held the festival of Hilaria and the Christians then came up with their own version calling it Mothering Sunday. That’s where the Americans came in and created Mother’s Day, as their own version, thanks to Anne Jarvis, who trademarked the name “Mother’s Day”.
Oh joy for the commercialization of celebration.
But my musings didn’t stop there. What about Father’s in Fiction? How do they fare under the writer’s quivering quill? For the most part not that well. It seems there is a preponderance of male authors who think as Congress did back in 1914, that Father’s are the dark looming cloud in the back of every family. This is a generalization of course, but novels like DH Lawrence’s ‘Sons and Daughters’, JP Donleavy’s ‘The Ginger Man’ and others are not too flattering of men. I too have found myself guilty of the same practice, as if some form of self flagellation is good for the male soul. Not that some serious introspection is bad for the male soul, but sometimes we should just look at our children and grand-children and be grateful and happy that they still love us, find us curious creatures and laugh at our idiosyncrasies; and nervously hope that they don’t become novelists.
Thank you Mrs Dodd.
What are your thoughts?