Father's Day

Sunday, June 18, 2017
Father's Day is a holiday I celebrate with my husband, Randy, because my own father died 40 years ago last month. Randy is a great father to our kids, but I can't remember the last Father's Day card I bought for my dad, and am sad that my own children never got to meet him.

There are two stories about the origins of Father's Day, ironically, both featuring women who wanted to honor their fathers. Sonora Dodd, from Washington State, along with her five siblings were raised by a single father and came up with the idea after hearing a Mother's Day sermon and believed fathers also should have a special day, which was held in 1910 in Spokane.

On the other side of the country, Grace Golden Clayton from Fairmont, West Virginia, came up with the idea in 1908 to honor the more than 360 men killed in a mine explosion, which would give the children a special time to honor and remember their fathers.

So how does this all tie together in a writing blog by women? Well, I was thinking about one of the reasons I love writing and reading and stories in general. When I was a child, one of my favorite memories was sitting on our gold-carpeted living room floor while listening to my dad read from The Best-Loved Poems of James Whitcomb Riley, published by Grosset & Dunlap, NY.

I remember the way he took on the dialects from the poems The Raggedy Man, and Little Orphant Annie, which, by the way, was a scary tale. Out to Old Aunt Mary's was another favorite, which sounded sentimental to me even at a young age, because I was reminded of my dad's elderly aunts.

Why did he read Whitcomb Riley? I don't know, but listening to the work by a man whom Woodrow Wilson called "a man who imparted joyful pleasure and a thoughtful view of many things that other men would have missed," sums up my feelings about the memory of that day.

My father's voice was silenced a long time ago, but I wanted to honor him and the role his storytelling had on me as a reader and a writer.

Mary Horner is a freelance writer and editor, and the author of Strengthen Your Nonfiction Writing. She also teaches communications at St. Louis and St. Charles Community Colleges.


Sioux Roslawski said...

Mary--Thanks for the history "lesson" and thanks (even more) for sharing a bit about your family's history.

Even though your children never got to know that grandfather, you could introduce him to them... via stories.

Have a wonderful holiday, and I'll have to check out that poet. I've never heard of him.

Margo Dill said...

I didn't know the origins of Father's Day--it's interesting that Mother's Day was first...:)

What a great memory of you and your dad!

Mary Horner said...

Thanks Sioux and Margo. My kids have heard lots of stories about my dad, but not sure about this one! I have to book he read from, so maybe I'll try it out on them, even though they are older, and I won't be able to get the dialect correct!

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