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Father's Day: Ways to honor Dad on his day

Each June, Father’s Day is celebrated throughout the United States on the third Sunday of the month. It is a time for children to express their love for their dad with a special hug, a greeting card, or gift.

Getting Father’s Day declared as an official holiday wasn’t an easy task. No one even knows for certain who initiated the idea. Supposedly, it was Sonora Smart Dodd, for she felt her dad was a unique individual, having raised her and his five sons alone after his wife had died.

Ms. Dodd’s proposal gained immediate support among the residents of West Virginia, her home state, in 1908, as did her suggested date of June 5, her father’s birthdate. The celebration date was moved to June 19 for the convenience of town ministers, who needed more time to work on their sermons honoring fathers. Almost immediately, newspapers across the nation ran features about this event. William Jennings Bryan, an early supporter for creating an official Mother’s Day, sent a message to Ms. Dodd stating, “Too much emphasis cannot be placed upon the relation between parent and child.”

Unfortunately, the all-male members of Congress didn’t accept the idea of having an official Father’s Day, thinking it might be seen as a self-congratulatory pat on the back.  President Woodrow Wilson didn’t agree, and in 1916, he and his family made it a point to observe the day. President Calvin Coolidge, who observed it in 1924, recommended that any state that wished to celebrate Father’s Day should do so, adding that the “widespread observance of this occasion is calculated to establish more intimate relations between fathers and their children, and also to impress upon fathers the full measure of their obligations.”

In 1957, another effort to make this day official, was made by Senator Margaret Chase Smith in a written appeal to Congress stating, “Either we honor both our parents, mother and father, or let us desist from honoring either one. But to single out just one of our two parents and omit the other is the most grievous insult imaginable.” Finally, in 1972, President Richard Nixon established Father’s Day as an official holiday.

What can you do to honor your dad? There are many ways, ranging from a cost-free hug and written note, to an expensive silk tie, a carnation for his lapel, a dinner out at a local restaurant or, depending on his interests, one of the following:

Enlarge a recent family photo and put it in a beautiful frame for his desk or wall.

Send him on a dinner cruise.

If he loves the water, rent a canoe or kayak and join him paddling along a lovely lake or exciting river. (Check the yellow pages for liveries).

Is your dad a history buff? Treat him to dinner aboard the Moshulu, the world’s only four-masted restaurant sailing ship. Built in 1904, it’s been restored to turn-of--the-century grandeur, is docked in Philadelphia and, besides the gourmet meals prepared by the ship’s award-winning chef, there’s live entertainment. (Pier 34, Penn’s Landing Waterfront, Philadelphia; 215-923-2500).

Let him sail back in time aboard the authentically restored 1928 oyster schooner, A.J. Meerwald, New Jersey’s official tall ship. He’ll experience the past, can help the crew raise and furl the canvas sails, or just relax and enjoy the 2-1/2 hour sailing experience on the two-masted schooner driven by over 3500 square feet of sail. While aboard, he’ll also learn about the history and restoration of the schooner.

Escort him to an Aquarium so he can peer into numerous fish tanks to witness sharks, rough tail stingrays and sea turtles, watch penguins and seals, and much more.

To cure his back pain from overdoing all the home chores, sign him up for yoga or exercise course at a local YMCA or health club.

Buy an attractive weathervane, birdbath, or soothing sounding wind chime.

Offer him an exciting skating lesson or package.

Bake him a personalized cake or whip up his favorite dessert. Better yet, buy his favorite goody at a local bakery.

Give him a night of laughter by presenting him with tickets to a Comedy Club,

Sign him up for a fly-fishing course.

To free him of stress on this important day, take him to a driving range,

Is he a jellybean lover? Jelly Belly beans have only 4 calories each and zero fat, are smaller than other jelly beans, have authentic and intense flavors — such as juicy pear, watermelon, top banana, lemon lime, pineapple, piña colada, green apple, Jalapeno, and more — and can be purchased loose, in 5 ounce tins, and 10, 12, and 20 ounce gift boxes from local supermarkets, department stores, or gift shops.

Sometimes a quiet walk among lush surroundings and beautiful sculpture will make this Father’s Day a day to remember for years to come,

If you’re feeling posh and want to give dad a place to admire where he can stow his mower and tools, check out custom designed and built sheds. Check your Yellow Pages for firms.

Present him with a new CD, book, or video.

Treat him to a round of miniature golf, a 9-Hole Par 3 Course, putting course, or batting range

Pick a lovely bouquet from your garden and put it in a pretty cup or vase. Better yet, plant some daisies, veggies, or fun packs of seeds available from Bentley Seed Company at Wal-Mart or local garden supply stores and erect a simple sign marking the area “Dad’s Spot.”

Purchase an Entertainment book (from local merchants, synagogues and churches or direct from Entertainment, 2125 Butterfield Road, Troy, MI 48084; 248-637-8400), so your dad can dine at some of the best area restaurants, purchase theater and attraction tickets at huge discounts, or save on hotels while on vacation.

Buy him one of his favorite games, whether its chess, checkers, backgammon, foosball, or ping-pong.

Remember, too, that one of the best gifts you can give your dad on his special day is a hug while saying, I love you.

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