It appears that Mrs. Clayton, organizer of this first day of honor for fathers, failed to consider the effect of the competing holiday the day before. Not a single father showed up to the parade at 10 a.m. They were all sleeping off a late night of drinking, carousing, shooting bottle rockets at each other, and passing out before the fireworks finale.
A couple of years later, Mrs. Dodd of Spokane, Washington, picked a less hung over Sunday and received credit for launching Father’s Day into what it is today—a day to worship the backyard barbecue grill, giving fathers a chance to demonstrate why they should not be in charge of preparing the family meals.
Think about it. Whenever I got an idea to experiment with something my mom considered to be dangerous or a fire hazard, she made me do it in the backyard. She’d peer out the kitchen window, poised to call the fire department in case of an explosion.
Mary hides it well, but I can feel her staring at me when I light the grill, just waiting for me start running around the yard like a stuntman in Firestarter.
What I like about Father’s Day is getting phone calls from each of our six kids. They don’t know this but I have been keeping records for years with the time of day each of them called me. Phone calls before 10 a.m. and after 6 p.m. score negative points. Too early is not good. It makes me think you’re just trying to get it off your To-Do list; the obligatory Happy Father’s Day call. Too late is also not good. An afterthought. Oh, crap, did you call your father yet?
I really enjoy the leisurely pace of Father’s Day. It’s a day devoid of gutter cleaning, rearranging the basement, and painting the shed. It’s the day that I can suggest doing something that would normally be met with a scowl. Like visiting the Museum of Holography. Or watching the 149-minute Das Boot for the fifth time while insisting that everyone in the room remain completely silent.
It’s now shortly before 10 a.m., so I need to warm up my vocal chords and pull out my Father’s Day diary. To every father out there, Happy Father’s Day. Enjoy it and get your rear end back to work tomorrow.