I’m going to tell you something that I think will astound you.

Father’s Day wasn’t officially recognized until 1972, when President Richard Nixon (himself a father of two girls, if you’ll remember) signed a proclamation naming the third Sunday of June Father’s Day. Tricia and Julie Nixon probably groaned. Daddy, you just did this to get a present.

But seriously? All those years in my youth when I would gather my money and head down to the Rexall Drug Store to buy my father some Brut after shave, and it wasn’t even an official holiday. That money could have been better spent on wax lips and pixie sticks.

I remember that it used to annoy my father to no end that the priests (according to him) at Mass on Father’s Day would barely recognize them, while on Mother’s Day, they were applauded and honored with special prayers. He claimed, in fact, that one year the priest reminded them that they wouldn’t be fathers if it wasn’t for their wives being mothers. Little did he know that it was lucky he was getting any recognition (not to mention Brut) at all because Father’s Day was simply a word-of-mouth celebration.

Mother’s Day became a holiday early in the 20th century, after Anna Jarvis successfully lobbied Congress and the president to officially honor mothers with a special day. Apparently Catholics in Europe had been unofficially celebrating Father’s Day since the Middle Ages on March 19, the feast day of St. Joseph. But efforts to replicate this official honoring of fatherhood just never found legs, especially after Mother’s Day became so commercialized.

So leave it to Tricky Dick to finally make the whole thing official. I hope his daughters gave him a good present that year.

As for Bill, this year he had kind of a quiet Father’s Day, as half of his children are not around. Heather and her family live in Vermont, and Dave and his family are driving around in an RV. Court and his family returned yesterday morning from a week-long trip to Disney World. He stopped by on his way home from the airport to give Bill a hug, and Cole happily wished him a happy Father’s Day from the back seat, while his sisters slept. He got a Face Time call from Heather, and Father’s Day wishes from Joseph and Micah. Dave called to wish him a happy day as well.

Allen (Bill’s eldest) and Emma came over for dinner and a celebration featuring barbecued ribs, baked beans, southern-styled green beans and banana splits for dessert. You can’t get much more American than that, and Tricky Dick would have been proud. The highlight of the meal was watching everyone make their own banana splits…..

I offered vanilla ice cream with caramel, hot fudge, and strawberry toppings, in addition to bananas. On the side were maraschino cherries, nuts, and squirt whipped cream. As we made our banana splits, Allen asked Emma — who was born and lived most of her life in Paris, France — if she had ever had a banana split. She admitted there was something similar in France, but with only one scoop of ice cream rather than three. Welcome to the U. S. of A, where we would never have one when we could have three. And I must admit the squirt whipped cream threw her a bit, but not for long…..

As a Father’s Day gift from God, we got a nice rainfall in the afternoon. Bill and I spent a bit of time on our patio enjoying the cool weather following our week of temperatures in the upper 90s……

I think that Bill would call this a nice celebration of fatherhood. What more could a guy want than hugs, phone calls, and visits from all of your kids. Oh, and banana splits.

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