5 things about Father’s Day

A daughter began it

The first government-certified Father’s Day in the United States was proclaimed exactly 100 years ago by the mayor of Spokane, Wash. He acted at the request of Sonora Dodd, daughter of a widowed farmer, William Smart. Smart had raised his six children alone after their mother died in childbirth.

But while Mother’s Day was presidentially established in 1914, it took until 1966 for Father’s Day to become similarly marked.


It’s not just for father

Officially, the third Sunday in June honors all men who act as a father figure, not simply biological dads. Stepfathers, uncles, granddads and other pop-like role models should be in for a treat this June 20.

OK, kids — let’s help daddy clean up

Almost 300,000 American children under 15 have a special dad to thank this month.  They’re the kids of about 159,000 fathers who stay home, out of the labor force, primarily to care for the family while their wives work outside the house. 

Now this guy is patient

One place that Nature’s best dad hangs out is along the shores of the Hilton Head area. And he has an exceptionally large family.

That would be the seahorse, rated by Animal Planet and others as the top father in the animal kingdom because he takes on pregnancy. The male seahorse has a pouch on his front side, where the female puts her eggs. For two to three weeks daddy keeps the eggs secure as they develop, and then gives birth to anywhere from 50 to 1,500 babies.  When it’s a large number the birthing can take more than a day.

Instead of a gift tie, how about a song?

A respected dad is a lonely figure in the world of music. More often one hears something like “Papa was a rolling stone / Wherever he laid his hat was his home.”  There is, however, a nice tune by Paul Overstreet that includes “I’m seeing my father in me / I guess that’s how it’s meant to be.”  And one of the finest of jazz standards is Horace Silver’s wordless “Song for My Father.”

But as well there is the liltingly ambiguous number by Cole Porter that, perhaps alone in the musical world, manages to rhyme the Scottish dish of finnan haddie: “My Heart Belongs to Daddy.”