Jun 17, 2022

Fathers Day in Memory and Deed

My Dad and I 
( 2010 )

From my journal/blog in 2010:

"I broke my wrist in Alaska on January's ice.  Dad had his 93rd Birthday and then 2 silent heart attacks not long after that.  

I cooked, cleaned, did laundry, and took care of both my parents with one hand for 3 months instead of physical therapy before heading back to Oregon.

I also kept up my blog, the best I could typing with one hand then correcting words needing upper case letters and punctions later.

It was one of the most challenging and meaningful experienes of my life. But the smile on Dad's face when I was able to visit him in the hospital speaks volumes about the  depth of our love and gratitude for one another and our lives."

It was the last birthday I ever spent with my father and I was so grateful I'd been there with him and my mom, broken wrist and all.

When I think back to my memories, our history as a family amidst each year, decade and era in time, i think of Father's Day today from all those years past. Then, I think about the true meaning, the value of our fathers in our lives, of our sons and all they mean to us in all generations. And then the history of holidays and just how they all came to be.

Many of us are familiar with the origin and history of Mother's Day and its linkage back to ancient goddess festivals, England's Mothering Sunday, the American political activist Julia Ward Howe, and finally Anna Jarvis's campaign from church to church to declare her devotion to her own mother.

But the history and origin of Father's Day is less well-known. I did a bit of research on this year's ago and  because of this I found that the idea of a complementary "Father's Day was the brainchild of Sonora Dodd, who first had the idea while she was sitting in church listening to one of these Mother's Day sermons in 1909.

She wanted to honor her own father, William Smart, a Civil War veteran, who was widowed when his wife died while giving birth to their sixth child. Mr. Smart was left to raise the newborn and his other five children, by himself, on a rural farm in eastern Washington state. Her father had raised them, as a single father, with many sacrifices and in the eyes of his daughter, a courageous, selfless, and loving man.

Sonora believed that if a single father had raised and loved children with selfless devotion as hers had, then those fathers deserved their own day of devotion, just as the mother's had. Thus, the first Father's Day, was actually intended for single dads who served as the only parent, and not all dads in general. It simply grew into the holiday we know it as, today.

Sonora's father was born in June, so she chose to hold the first Father's Day celebration in Spokane, Washington on the 19th of June, 1910. She had wanted the use his birth date but pending legislation was slowed down until President Calvin Coolidge, in 1924, supported the idea of a National Father's Day.

Eventually, President Lyndon Johnson signed a presidential proclamation (1966) declaring the 3rd Sunday of June as Father's Day. President Richard Nixon signed the law which finally made it permanent in 1972. In this sense, it is a relatively newer celebration, but one which most of us have celebrated throughout our own lives.

While other countries may or may not have their own versions of this day, some of the variations are quite interesting. In Germany there is no such thing as Father's Day but there are two terms and/or events of an older origin that while similar in name, have entirely different meanings. Männertag, is always celebrated on Ascension Day (the Thursday forty days after Easter), which is a federal holiday. Regionally, it is also called men's day, Männertag, or gentlemen's day, Herrentag. It is tradition to do a males-only hiking tour with one or more smaller wagons, Bollerwagen, pulled by manpower.

In countries with Roman Catholic tradition, Fathers are celebrated on Saint Joseph's Day, commonly called Feast of Saint Joseph, March 19, though in most countries Father's Day is a secular celebration and celebrated separately from the feast holiday.

In Taiwan, Father's Day is not an official holiday, but is widely observed on August 8, the eighth day of the eighth month of the year. In Mandarin Chinese, the pronunciation of the number 8 is ba. This pronunciation is very similar to the character "?" "bà", which means "Papa" or "father". The Taiwanese, therefore, usually call August 8 by its nickname, "Baba Day." In Thailand, Father's Day is set as the birthday of the king and thus varies from generation to generation of its royalty. No matter what your country, your culture, or traditions, today is still a special day to honor fathers everywhere.

On Father's Day, I honor my own father, who I loved and still miss so very much. A dear, dear man who lived a long life with incredible courage, strength, and steadfast determination to do his best for his family and for the state and country he loved so much.


coming and going: 2010

A good, hard working man, who was still working to fix up our childhood home in Douglas, Alaska up and into his last year at age 93, still working so very hard every day of his life care taking my mother who suffered from Alzheimer's, diabetes and was legally blind. Below is the photo quilt that I made for him.

I titled it  "Turning Ninety" , a variation of a "Turning Twenty" pattern.  As a WWII veteran, the father of 5 children, and a hard working and very dedicated and loving husband to my mother, and as someone who never forgot his and his brothers sacrifices for country and for family during WWII, I used photos from that time and from his courtship with my Louisiana French mother, who he met, fell in love with and married after the war years.

Because my mother was legally blind, but could see shapes and colors and could see details if things were large enough, or if she used a magnifying glass, I made the quilt pieces and photos very large.

They both loved it and treasured it. After their deaths, it came back home to Oregon with me, once more and now I treasure all of the memories of making it, of them and our lives together.

I honor my husband, the father of our three beautiful children, a man who in many, many ways reminds me of my own father. A man who in his 70s still works long, long hours during the day and often into the evening with hiring subcontractors and keeping track of billing. 

He enjoys continuing to be helpful to our son who has taken over the majority of responsibilities keeping our award winning green home building business "Bilyeu Homes" going. And best of all keeps our 2.5 acres mowed and hundreds of trees and shrubs pruned and flower beds weeded!

I honor my amazing Alaskan grandfather and uncles. Most are not in this photo. All men long gone but with amazing talents, skills, courage, and the perseverance to live and provide for their families with hunting and fishing in territorial Alaska as she slowly entered statehood and changed all of our lives.

My grandfathers,one Finnish, one French, both Immigrants from their native countries, who paved the way for their families during challenging times in their own worlds.

I thank them for all they taught me and all they gave in turn to all of us, their families.

I honor these fathers, and all of your fathers, your husbands, your brothers and our sons who are fathers now themselves.

Enjoy this special day and know, really know, just how much we all appreciate and love you!

With Heart and Hands: Links: 2,500 Free Quilt Patterns

With Heart and Hands: Free Quilt Block Patterns 

  With Heart and Hands: Free Quilt Block Patterns

 Father's Day Gift and Craft Ideas with fun and even quirky things to do with children or grandchildren, today or any day! No gift? Let your kids stay busy making one of these 😘

Michele Bilyeu Creates With Heart and Hands as she shares her imaginative, magical, and healing journey from Alaska to Oregon. Creating, designing, sewing, quilting, and wildcrafting, from my heart and with my hands

I blog on a Galaxy Note 9 mobile phone using only mobile data signal in a no wifi home.
 Not easy but I am a determined woman who doesn't give up easily!

(Imagine this woman being your wife, mother, or mother-in-law!?)

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