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Thinking of Dad

Father’s Day approaches. According to Wikipedia, this holiday honors fatherhood and other paternal bonds as well as the influence of fathers in society. Father’s Day is also big business.

We did not always have this holiday. As an official celebration in the United States, Father’s Day celebrations came rather late. When a daughter-in-law once asked me what we did for Father’s Day when I was young, I could not recall doing anything to mark the day.

I wondered why.

I learned that the holiday day was first proposed in the early twentieth century as a complement to Mother’s Day. At the beginning, it had little success because Americans perceived it as an attempt by retailers to promote greeting cards and gifts.

Not until 1966 did a U. S. President, Lyndon B. Johnson, issue a presidential proclamation honoring fathers. The official holiday came during the next presidential administration when Richard Nixon signed a law in 1972 making it a permanent national holiday.

No wonder we did not celebrate this day when I was young. No one did. My siblings and I were pretty much grown when it came along.

Now, on this Father’s Day, my own dad is gone. I cannot present him with a card or gift. I can honor his memory, though.

He was a good father despite having had no role model for the task. His own dad had died when my father was small, and Dad had few memories of him.

Despite that, my dad became an admirable father. He was kind and nurturing. He did not criticize, and he encouraged me to do my best. He was generous with his time and treasure. He taught me to whistle.

On Father’s Day this year, I can think of him and all he did for me. I miss him.

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