Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Wick Fisher
Moose Lake Star Gazette 

Always call Dad on Father's Day

Wick's World


Annual holidays are often useful as a point of reference on the calendar. How many times have you said or heard the phrase, “Next Sunday is Mother’s (Father’s) Day?” This becomes especially true when the mentioned holiday doesn’t coincide with a specific date on the calendar. Labor Day, Memorial Day and Veterans Day are some that have a roaming date on the modified updated Roman calendar that eventually became the Julian calendar we use today. Modern society has tended to group holidays around the weekends, mostly for convenience sake, some exceptions being the Fourth of July and Christmas.

You may hear the phrases “The Fourth of July (Christmas) is coming up," but never hear, “The Fourth is on the fourth this year,” or just as good, “Christmas is on the 25th this year.”

So my wife and I were travelling back home to the Twin Cities after a Father’s Day weekend when the question arose: What determines the actual date of Father’s Day? Well, surprising to both of us, Father’s Day never became official until as recently as 1972 when President Nixon proclaimed the third Sunday in June as the day to recognize contributions of fathers to their families and society. However, it was many years earlier that Mrs. Sonora Smart Dodd was sitting in church on a Sunday morning that also happened to be Mother’s Day, when she either became distracted or was so bored with the preacher’s sermon that she conjured up the idea that fathers should also have their own day of honor. After losing her mother at a premature age, Sonora watched her father raise the six children in the family, all the while remaining a single parent.

I always loved Mark Twain’s comment about fathers: “When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.”

As a rule, I always called Dad on Father’s Day, no matter where in the world I happened to be. I only missed two occasions that I remember. In 1970, I spent the months of June, July and August near the small Pacific Coast village of Rio Hata, Panama, where telephone service was either sparse or nonexistent. The following year I called Dad from New York City, but by 1972, I again was a no-show. The month of June was spent hitchhiking behind the Iron Curtain. By the time Father’s Day rolled around, I was somewhere between Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Romania or Bulgaria. Only once that summer did I even attempt to call my parents back in South Dakota and I basically remember that transaction as an expensive disaster.

My children have followed in my footsteps. Since the time they all left home in Moose Lake and began their lives in different parts of the world, all three sons faithfully call "dear old Dad" on my birthday and Father’s Day. In our family, for holidays such as this one, no gifts are expected or received. The gift is the phone call. My wife generally breaks this rule, however, as she always seems to come up with a gift for any and all occasions. This year was rather typical. Around mid-morning she notified me that my Father’s Day gifts were the two birdfeeders she had mounted on our deck some two weeks previous. I made some comment about how similar this was to the time when she was walking out the door and announced that supper consisted of burritos. I opened the fridge only to find a package of tortillas, a brick of cheese and a jar of hot sauce. I confronted her about this episode later when she arrived home.

“Oh, you were supposed to put them together yourself,” she declared.

Back to the Father’s Day gifts. My wife wasn’t finished yet. She usually tries to get me what she calls "something useful." This year was no different. The first gift was a contraption called a lime mister. You stick this small plastic tube directly into the heart of a lime, give it a twist and “Voila!” You have a tiny tube full of lime juice that can then be sprayed on whatever food you usually spray lime juice on.

The next contraption was even harder to identify. The best name I could come up with was “A wine glass holder that can be attached inside your dishwasher that allows you to later break said glass on your granite kitchen countertop.”

“Happy Father’s Day!”


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