|My dad loved licorice allsorts, but would|
have traded them to spend time with his kids.
Licorice Allsorts by Maureen Whittaker
Father's Day was first suggested in 1910 by Sonora Dodd, who along with her 5 siblings, was raised by a single father. Mother's Day had been recently started by Anna Jarvis in 1908, and Dodd thought that it was time for dads to get a bit of love.
The celebration didn't attract national attention until the 1930s when Dodd had the support of business interests that stood to gain from American's desire to make their dads happy.
The New York Associated Menswear Retailers led the charge waving Donald Duck ties and packs of wool dress socks while establishing the Father's Day Council.
But the consumers-in-training of the day were already skeptical of commercial interests - they questioned the sincerity of the advertisers, and joked about the upstart counterpart to the already retail-friendly Mother's Day.
For decades dads day was delayed.
The US Congress voted down the idea of Father's Day several times. I guess they already had enough ties and coffee mugs. The day was not made official until 1972, six and a half decades after mom's got their day.
It turns out that the skeptics were right to be cautious, and by the 1980s the Father's Day Council was reporting that our dad's special day had become a 'Second Christmas' for the men's gift industry.
My dad never expected gifts for Father's Day. Still, he had his share of bottles of aftershave, cuff links, and licorice allsorts. But all he really wanted was to spend time with his kids.
For my dad's last Father's Day I took him to a local park on a windy day. I set him in a lawn chair, and put the string attached to a flying kite in his hands. His face beamed as he looked to the sky and felt the twitch and magic of flight through his fingers.
We talked and he told me that he hadn't flown a kite since he was a boy. To me he looked like a boy again, and we were boys together on that day, feeling the joy of a shared experience on a sunny day.
Your dad will understand if you are not buying anything for him this year, and he may even prefer that you don't. But do remember to spend some time with him, and let him know how much he means to you.
My dad would approve of that, and so would Sonora Dodd.