Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Father's Day musings

The author and her father
in a distant past.
Father’s Day was this past Sunday. (In case you missed noticing all the commercials on TV or the sales flyers in your newspaper and mailbox.) I learned some new things about the holiday from the History Channel that amused me. For instance, even though the Mother’s Day holiday had already been established successfully in the early 1900’s there was apparently some resistance to an equal celebratory day for dad because “fathers haven’t the same sentimental appeal.” Flowers and gifts did not seem very “manly,” even by 1924 when President Coolidge was involved in a Father’s Day observance. As another quote in the article says, men saw the holiday as a “commercial gimmick to sell more products—often paid for by the father himself.” (That part still rings true!) It was 1972 when Father’s Day became an officially recognized holiday…in what could have been a politically motivated move by President Nixon during his re-election campaign.

MCPL has good reading on fathers and fatherhood, some of it sentimental, some of it educational, and some of it humorous. Here are some highlights:

When I First Held You, in which 22 critically acclaimed writers talk about the triumphs, challenges, and transformative experience of fatherhood. Edited by Brian Gresko. Musings on fatherhood that will pluck a variety of heartstrings.
Manhood for Amateurs by Michael Chabon. This popular author and father of four reflects on his own childhood through the lens of being a parent.
Fatherhood: rising to the ultimate challenge by Etan Thomas with Nick Chiles and a foreword by Tony Dungy. Thomas, a former NBA star with a commitment to helping youth and encouraging young men to engage fully in fatherhood as part of the Fatherhood Initiative, gives a heartfelt account of what makes being a father so important.

Like many other grown children, I traveled to my hometown on Sunday to spend time with my dad and my family. My dad and I have developed a Father’s Day tradition over the last several years. We ride motorcycles together through some of my favorite riding territory (winding country roads through orchards and state forest land) to attend a small, folksy, outdoor church service in Caledonia, PA. After the service we head down the road to a local diner for lunch and then back out on the road for more riding. He usually stops at some point to ask me if I want to keep riding or if I’m ready to head home, and unless it is raining or I’m getting sunburn we usually keep going for another hour or so before looping back home. I always enjoy this time with my dad because we do not often spend time together and because I know we’re doing something that makes both of us happy. This year, I broke tradition because of the stormy weather forecast and because I knew I wouldn’t be getting much sleep the night before we rode. (As it turns out, I still wouldn’t have gotten a good night’s sleep but the weather would have been fine.) Even though I went to visit for lunch, it wasn’t the same as getting that special time together out on the bikes.

My dad was my junior prom date
because my date never arrived.
He stayed longer than I did.

Father's Day outing 2014.

Tina R.

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