CHARLOTTE: Ever heard of the name Sonora Dodd? Chances are you haven’t but in 1909, while listening to a Mother’s Day sermon in Spokane, Washington, Ms. Dodd decided she wanted to honor her father as well as her deceased mother and came up with the idea of “Father’s Day.” Dodd’s dad, William Smart, was a widowed farmer who reared six children as a single parent.
Spokane quickly embraced the idea, responding the following year by naming June 19th as Father’s Day because June was the month when Dodd’s father was born.
Making Father’s Day official
Six years later, President Woodrow Wilson approved the concept nationally and by 1924, Calvin Coolidge officially established Father’s Day in the United States.
It was President Lyndon Johnson who designated the third Sunday in June as the official date of Father’s Day in 1966. Finally, in 1972, President Richard Nixon officially made the celebration permanent.
As for Sonora Dodd, well she is now commonly known as the “Mother of Father’s Day”, of course.
Despite Dodd’s efforts fir dad, Father’s Day celebrations have been around for quite a long time. Roughly 4,000 years ago, a Babylonian boy named Elmesu carved out a greeting card from clay to wish his father good health and long life.
For the record, roses are the official flower of Father’s Day with a red rose being worn if dad is still living and white if he is deceased.
As with Mother’s Day, greeting card businesses reap the benefits, especially in the United States where more than 95 million cards are sent, making the day the fourth-largest card-sending occasion in the country.
Phone services do even better, with Father’s Day ranking number one for collect calls.
Father’s Day traditions
Father’s Day gifts come as no surprise with the traditional standby of neckties remaining at the top. As American culture becomes increasingly casual, neckties could easily lose their top ranking in the near future. Tools are a close second in the gift category with sporting goods such as fishing gear and golf clubs coming in at a close third.
Today, Father’s Day is celebrated in most places around the world and the third Sunday in June remains the most popular choice. However, in Spain and Portugal, dads enjoy their special day on St. Joseph’s Day which falls on March 19 while in Australia, Father’s Day takes place on the first Sunday in September.
As American culture changes, “Mr. Mom’s” are becoming more common with roughly 154,000 “stay-at-home” dads spending more time with their children while mom heads to the office. The estimate is based upon married dads who have been out of the workforce for more than a year while caring for children under the age of 15.
Estimates total the number of children being watched by their fathers is approximately 287,000.
Statistics figure there are about 64.3 million fathers in the U.S. and roughly 14% of them work full-time as a stay-at-home parent.
Amazingly, a few statistics that are not generally known are:
• One in twelve men serving in the army are fathers
• Two-thirds of children who are 6 or under do not eat dinner with their father
• About 38% of working fathers say they would take a pay cut to spend more time with their children
To conclude today’s Father’s Day trivia, we offer this anonymous poem about dear ole Pop:
What makes a dad?
God took the strength of a mountain, the majesty of a tree,
the warmth of a summer sun, the calm of a quiet sea,
The generous soul of nature, the comforting arm of night,
the wisdom of the ages, the power of the eagle’s flight,
The joy of a morning in spring, the faith of a mustard seed,
the patience of eternity, the depth of a family need,
then god combined these qualities, when there was nothing more to add,
He knew his masterpiece was complete,
and so he called it … dad
Three cheers for Sonora Dodd of Spokane, Washington, for whom we toast, “In Dodd we trust.”
About the Author:
Bob Taylor is a veteran writer who has traveled throughout the world. Taylor was an award winning television producer/reporter/anchor before focusing on writing about international events, people and cultures around the globe.
Taylor is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com)
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