Saturday, June 19, 2010

First Father's Day 100 Years Ago Today

"One hundred years ago, in the Big Bend hills of Washington, Father's Day had its beginning in a lonely farm dwelling. There Sorrow ministered amid the moaning of the March winds.

"A father sat with bowed head in his aloneness. About him clung his weeping children. The winds outside threw great scarfs of powdered snow against the window panes, when suddenly the last born tore himself from the group and rushed out into the storm calling for his mother. Yet even his baby voice could not penetrate the great silence that held his mother.

"Hurriedly, the father gathered him back to his protection and for more than two decades, William Jackson Smart, alone, kept paternal vigilance over his motherless children.

"This poignant experience in the life of Mrs. John Bruce Dodd of Spokane Washington, who was then Sonora Louise Smart, was the inspiration for Father's Day which materialized through the devotion of this father. Through the observance of the love and the sacrifice of fathers about her everywhere, her idea of Father's Day crystallized in 1910, through a formal Father's Day petition asking recognition of fatherhood.

"In 1926, a National Father's Day Committee was formed in New York City. Father's Day was recognized by a Joint Resolution of Congress in 1956. In 1972, President Richard Nixon established a permanent national observance of Father's Day to be held on the third Sunday of June. So, Father's Day was born in memory and gratitude by a daughter who thought that her father and all good father's should be honored with a special day just like we honor our mothers on Mother's Day."

Like all of us whose dads are eternally asleep, we wish we could ask them questions to find out more about them. As kids we didn't think about doing that, because the world turned around us. I was one of the lucky ones, in that my Dad simply adored his only little girl. His was a quiet gentleness, and sometimes when I'm going through some 'rocky places,' he comes to me in dreams and gives me a hug and tells me everything will be okay.