Inspired by the earliest U.S. Mother's Days, Sonora Smart Dodd, who had been raised by her widowed father, felt that fathers needed a day to honor them too. She organized the first Father's Day celebration in Spokane, Washington on the 19th of June, 1910. The idea spread, and in 1924 President Calvin Coolidge first proclaimed a U.S.-wide holiday for Father's Day, but it was re-proclaimed yearly until 1966 when Lyndon Johnson finally declared the third Sunday of June a permanent holiday.

It will be the first.

I've done a lot of firsts since we lost him to lung cancer. Holidays, Birthdays, Breakups, Moves. Right down to small things like conversations and jokes. The first time I forgot that I couldn't call him or he wasn't going to be calling me. The first time someone called looking for him here.

My Aunt said something about firsts one day. That it was almost over.

I don't think it ever will. There will always be something. Perhaps not exactly the same kind of firsts, but firsts just the same. Also the things he will miss.

And now I am left with the feeling that Father's Day is now unreal. It will just be another day. What does it mean? No more buying steak for his breakfast, but not to be served in bed. He didn't like breakfast in bed. He humoured us with it when we were very little, but that didn't last long. Steak and eggs with tomato slices. Coffee. Black. He didn't drink coffee with anything in it. He thought it was wussy. He also wouldn't eat crepes. He called them 'girl pancakes', with the high pitched voice and hand gesture. He'd sit and watch racing. He always wanted to go to Daytona. He said we could all go to DinseyWorld and he would go see the Indy 500.

My father was laughter and smiles. There are barely any pictures of him without that smile. He laughed honestly. He put everyone under his spell with those.

My father was being held while he rocked. He loved cushy rocking chairs. When we were very little, we would crawl into his lap and rest our heads against his chest and he would just sit quietly and rock us while he watched tv. I remember seeing him with my little brother, back when he was still a baby, just rocking and looking very peaceful. He loved being a father. He loved family.

My father was learning about random facts. I couldn't say that he was a genius. He wasn't a scientist or anything like that. But he loved to share what he did know.

My father was buttons on my coat. It's one of my earliest memories of him. Standing in my Nanna's hallway and getting ready to go home. He would kneel down, or stand me up on something, and I would watch as his large hands did up the buttons with ease. They were always creased with printers ink.

My father was understanding. Noone understood me like he did. For a long time we didn't know each other at all. For a long time I was afraid of him and angry with him. Then, one day, we started talking. Talking about things that didn't seem all that important. Just about our days. When I moved away, he would call me if he hadn't heard from me for a few days, and only to hear about what I had been up to. He never judged me when I wasn't doing well. He only encouraged.

My father was knowing I would be taken care of. When I ran out of money my first year away because of a cheque gone wrong and I had no phone, I called in tears from a payphone. When my father got home and heard what was happening, he called my Aunt Lorna and asked for a loan for me. When I called back to see if he had gotten back so I could talk to him, it was all taken care of. He told me it would be alright and he was coming up the next day to take me grocery shopping and give me the money. No questions asked.

My father was knowing someone was proud of me. There is a picture of the day I came home from the hospital. Him and my mother are at the bottom of the front stairs of my Nanna's house, and he is grinning from ear to ear staring up at the camera with me in his arms. From the day I was born, he was proud of me. It didn't matter what I did or who I was, I was his baby girl and he would always be proud of me.

My father was knowing all these things and more. The last thing that my father said to me was to make sure I would take care. I told him that I had to go, but that I would see him later. He just nodded and said "Ok, and be a good girl...and be a good girl..." I smiled and said "Ok, Dad..." like it was silly. He always used to say it, like I wouldn't already try to be good. Now, when people ask me if I smoke and I say no, I remember him saying that when they respond with "Good girl".

My father was knowing I was loved. I was loved above all. Noone will ever love me as much as he did.

Because I remember this every day, and not a day goes by that I don't, I don't need Father's Day to remember anymore. It is just another day.

Doctor Who - The New Series

1.08: "FATHER'S DAY"

TX: 14 May 2005

Written by: Paul Cornell

Directed by: Joe Ahearne

Running time: 42' 10"

Location: London, England

Date: 7 November, 1987 AD

Monsters and villains: The reapers (monsterous bat-like creatures).

Plot Synopsis: Rose travels back in time to stop her father from dying, but in doing so she creates a massive temporal distortion that summons the reapers, terrible beasts that feed on chronological disturbances. As they sweep across the globe, the Doctor realises that even he cannot stop the complete destruction of humanity.

Bad Wolf Reference: A poster for a club called Energize has "Bad Wolf" graffiti on it.

Trivia: (1) Writer Paul Cornell is the author of several Doctor Who novels and created Bernice Summerfield, a companion who became so popular that she span off into her own range of books. He also wrote The Scream of the Shalka, 2003's Flash-animated Doctor Who series for the BBC website. This starred Richard E. Grant as an alternative ninth doctor.

(2) The anachronistic music playing over the car radio is by The Streets, a pseudonym for hip-hopper Mike Skinner.

(3) The working title for this episode was "Wounded Time".

Spoiler Synopsis: Rose convinces the Doctor to take her back in time to the day her father, Pete, was knocked down and killed. He agrees, but afterward she asks him to show her again. He takes her back to see the scene from a different angle (one where they can see themselves watching) and this time Rose runs out and knocks him out of the way. Pete thanks her for saving his life and takes her and the Doctor away to his house.

The Doctor is furious at the effect her actions may have had on the timeline, and not without reason: elsewhere in London strange things begin to occur, as people vanish into thin air. The Doctor heads back to the TARDIS whilst Pete takes Rose to a church where he is supposed to attend a wedding with his wife, Jackie. It emerges that Jackie and Pete are fast approaching divorce, and Jackie assumes that Rose is his latest bit on the side.

The Doctor reaches the TARDIS to find it completely hollow, like a prop from a movie, whilst a hideous bat-like beast spies on him from above. Recognising the signs, the Doctor runs to the church where Rose is, arriving just in time to see more of the bat creatures appear and begin devouring the guests. The survivors flee inside the church and block the doors to stop the monsters from getting in whilst the Doctor explains what they are: reapers, creatures that feed on chronological disturbances, obliterating everything to cleanse reality. The Time Lords used to be able to hold them back, but since the Time War, there is nothing to stop them. They will feed on the people first, then the trees, then the Earth itself until nothing is left. The survivors soon realise that there is nobody left outside the church; they are the last humans.

Pete figures out that Rose is his daughter, and that she pushed him out of the way of the car because he was going to die. They have a heartfelt conversation whilst the Doctor inspects the keys to his TARDIS and notices that they are glowing - the TARDIS is out there somewhere! He tries to call it back, but Rose makes the mistake of touching her younger self, allowing the reapers entry to the church. They dive on the survivors, including the Doctor, who is eaten.

The remaining few people manage to escape and hole up in another part of the church. Pete looks out of a window and sees the car that was originally going to knock him down driving around and around the church, appearing and disappearing at random. He realises that in order to heal the tear in time he must die and runs out to meet the car as it races down the road. He is knocked down and fatally injured as Rose and the other guests look on. He dies in Rose's arms and the disturbance is resolved; the reapers vanish and Earth is restored, along with the Doctor and the TARDIS. The Doctor comforts Rose as they walk away, leaving a mystified Jackie who cannot remember meeting her own grown up daughter...

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Sources:

http://www.imdb.com/ - The Internet Movie Database http://www.gallifreyone.com - Outpost Gallifrey http://www.physics.mun.ca/~sps/9doc.html - A Brief History of (Time) Travel


It’s Father’s Day today. Kind of an odd holiday, really. When you think about it, it’s a holiday with an identity crisis. By comparison, Mother’s Day has its identity down pat. The stereotypically warm, nurturing relationship between many, if not all, mothers and their children lends itself, at least in our mind’s eye, to an emotional, almost maudlin celebration of sentimentality.

With fathers, not so much. There’s a distance there, a coolness. Or maybe that’s just me and my Dad. One thing I do know, though, is that when I was growing up, the cliché thing to do was give your Dad a bad tie, bad cologne, or a badly spelled Father’s Day card. I suppose nowadays the way to go is some kind of gift card to Home Depot or Lowe’s or some other “guy” store.

The family then dutifully takes Dad out to lunch, or brunch, or, if his kids are grown up and Dad is lucky, out for a few beers at the local sports bar. I know this because I saw families, dozens of them, doing just this when I went out to grab some bagels earlier this morning.

Last Father’s Day I was homeless. This Father’s Day I’m living with my family again. This is how I spent it.



I started out by getting up early for a walk. A walk with my son. To McDonald’s for breakfast. Just like I’ve been doing every Saturday and Sunday morning, weather permitting, since I started working as a Peer Mentor at the Healing Place back in February.

You see, when I came on as a Peer Mentor, I started receiving a stipend of $60 a week. Doesn’t sound like much, I know, but compared to the big fat zero I’d been earning for what had previously seemed like forever, it was a fortune worthy of a prince.

Well, it turns out that in Richmond you can get a Big Breakfast and a small drink for $4.49. The Big Breakfast includes scrambled eggs, a sausage patty, hash browns, and a biscuit. The refills on the sodas are free. So for Saturday and Sunday together, I could take John Tyler (that’s my son) out for breakfast for something a little shy of $9.00.

Or about 15% of my entire weekly Peer Mentor pay. Best money I ever spent.

In the four months or so since this ritual began, these walks to McDonald’s have become most precious to me. The walk to the restaurant is about two miles, give or take, with me pushing John Tyler in his trusted BabyJogger, talking with him, answering questions, playing games.

Letting him let me come back into his life again.



There’s a church along the way. Sometime in March or so, a wrecked car inexplicably appeared in the church parking lot. It had been in some sort of front-end collision, and its front bumper and driver’s side front wheel were hopelessly damaged.

This traumatized John Tyler. One of his favorite movies is, of course, Cars, and he personalizes all manner of cars, trucks, motorcycles . . . anything with wheels, really. So to him, this little car –- a white Toyota Tercel –- was hurt and in pain.

I have to admit, the wreckage did look pretty devastating. For a few days after he first saw it, John Tyler had terrifying nightmares, prompting my wife to call me to ask if we’d actually seen the accident itself.

No, I said, but, as in life, the wreckage and aftermath was probably worse.

In the following weeks, though, something wonderful began to happen. Damaged pieces started coming off the car. Slowly at first, broken piece by broken piece. Then in the next few weeks, we would see new pieces start to show up on the car. A new bumper, a new mirror. Most miraculously, a new front tire. Clearly, someone was trying to put this seemingly hopeless ruin back together.

John Tyler was delighted. I explained to him about mechanics, how they were like doctors for cars, and how someone like that must be trying to take care of this car.

“To make it all better, Daddy?”

“Yes, John Tyler.”

Then, a few weeks ago, a miracle. As we walked by the church, John Tyler shouted and pointed.

“Daddy, the white car is gone!”

And it was. All that stood to show the car had ever been there, had ever been wounded, was a crippled wheel and crushed front bumper. Grim reminders, yes, but they spoke of something brighter, too.

“Where did it go, Daddy?”

“It went home, John Tyler. It went home. The car’s all better now, and it went back home.”

As we approached the parking spot, my son gazed intently at the last remaining pieces of wreckage, pondering my words. He paused, silent, for what seemed like an eternity. Then he said

“Like the Healing Place, Daddy?”

My breath left me for a moment. John Tyler knew about the Healing Place. We told him that Daddy was sick, and trying to get better. But this?

They tell me kids can sometimes come up with things that catch you by surprise. I suppose this was one of those times.

I looked down at his upturned face and smiled.

“Yes, John Tyler. Just like the Healing Place.”



After we got our order and sat down today, John Tyler and I did this little thing we do. Just like we do every weekend. But before I get there, I’ve got to set the stage a little for those of you who may never have gotten a Big Breakfast before.

The meal, eggs, sausage, and biscuit, comes on a white Styrofoam tray. On top of that sits a yellow Styrofoam top, hooked into the bottom tray with two yellow tabs sticking out of each end. To get to the food, you have to unhook the yellow top and take it off.

Sounds simple, I know. And it is. But it’s also fun. Here’s how.

After the two of us sit down, I spread out the knife, fork and napkins and put the tray in front of John Tyler. He smiles this big old grin of his and holds his hands up over the tray for a few dramatic moments. When he’s sure the timing is right, he’ll reach down and pull the top away, lifting his hands up over his head as he sings out “Surprise!!”

Then we eat.

Maybe you have to be there. Or maybe not. All I know is that I have to be there. And I have been, letting little things like "Surprise!!" seep back into my bones, helping me feel more like a father again.

Quality time? No such thing. That’s just a word busy parents use to ease their guilt. The only quality time you get with your kids comes by making sure there’s enough quantity to be there when it counts. It’s kind of like they say in AA. “I only need one meeting a week. I just don’t know which one it is, so I’ve got to go every day.”



After we finished our breakfast, the biscuit for me, the rest for John Tyler, we headed back home. On our way we passed the local library, a magnificent, bustling affair most days, but closed this Sunday morning. As 9:00 approached, I veered towards the library’s outside pay phone, fishing a couple of quarters out of my pocket.

I call my sponsor every Sunday morning at this time. He suggested it, so it’s what I do. I can’t afford to ask questions at this point in my sobriety. The reason I found myself using the pay phone, rather than my cell, was because even though I have a cell phone now, I’m actually very bad at keeping it with me. I’ve been used to going without for so long.

This morning, I just left it on the dresser as we walked out the door. Maybe I did it on purpose, I don’t know. To tell you the truth, I kind of liked not having a cell phone for so long. Life slowed down a bit, got a little quieter. The convenience comes at a price.

I put the quarters in, dialing my sponsor’s number. As we chatted away for fifteen minutes or so, I amusedly watched John Tyler grow increasingly impatient. He soon managed to extricate himself from the stroller’s straps, standing up to his full height in the stroller as he reached for any and every button on the phone.

Laughing, my sponsor and I ended our conversation. When I put the receiver down, John Tyler retrieved it, holding it up to his ear. As he turned to look up at me, he smiled broadly and said

“Look Daddy, I’m calling my sponsor.”

I was torn. The boy was cute beyond words. His obvious desire to be “just like Daddy” was sweet, even touching, but it still chilled me to the quick.

I’m sure I looked as though someone had just walked across my grave.



My son is sleeping now, the sleep of a child loved and cared for. If all goes as planned, I will take him to his favorite park, the "Sandy Park," later this evening. There, children from all over come to play, and families leave toys no longer needed for others to play with.

And I will kiss his forehead when I put him to bed this Father's Day.

Father's Day has come and gone for another year. It's an odd kind of occasion. It isn't a full blown day-off-from-work-with-pay holiday, yet it isn't one you can totally disregard either.

Father's Day is one of those days that are an irritant to kids, the need to make or buy a card, and to get a gift for the man who seems to have everything he needs. Men in general and fathers in particular aren't usually too big on letting their kith and kin know their wants and needs. They usually go along through life with their focus hopefully being on the wants and needs of their wife and kids. In an ideal world, anyways, that'd be the template.

It's not an ideal world, not by one big hairy long shot. My father was referred to as The Old Man or simply Daddy by his genetic heirs. Nothing so gentle or courtly as Father. Fathers belong on the TV, maybe good old Ward Cleaver on Leave It To Beaver, or Andy Griffith on The Andy Griffith Show. Those guys were fathers, alright. They sometimes took the time to talk to their wayward sons, explained things, showed them the way of the true Jedi. I know, old Ward or Andy could come across as pretty darned stern on occasion. I'd have taken the sternness gladly in exchange for the interaction. The Old Man's idea of interaction was planting his boot in your ass if you didn't move as quickly as he thought you should.

He wasn't any more gentle in his speech than he was in his physical actions. He grew up hard during the Great Depression and served in World War II. The realities of his life weren't gentle. His story is one in which a strong back featured large, hard work being his lot in life.

In retrospect on this Father's Day, I doubt he had the energy left over to be gentle. To be caring and patient consumes a lot more energy than simply issuing orders.

In some ways I'm my father's son, alright. I can be painfully blunt and abrupt. My wife, a very gentle person in her own right, has learned to not take my sturm und drang too much to heart, knowing the dog who barks the loudest seldom bites.

I never heard the words 'I love you' from my father. That is one thing I have resolved that my kids will never be able to say. When it's all said and done and the last hymn has been sung, I want them to know that I loved and still love them. That when life gets hard, damned hard, they have that little bit of certainty to put on their pillow alongside their weary head.

Father is such a loaded term, isn't it? It is so much more than being a sperm donor, which is what so many men these days seem to be. When I went to grade school, we had 2 guys from divorced homes, that's 2 out of roughly 50 guys. I don't know of any girls from single parent homes, though there may have been some. The point is, society has changed. One of the certainties of my existence was that Mom and Dad were going to be there. Yes, they had their fights, and some of them were truly epic in length and severity, but they stuck it out. I'm not convinced sometimes that was the right thing, but it's what they did.

My wife and I have 3 kids, 2 of which are stepdaughters to me. The third, my son, is the only child I've ever sired. My gift to him is a stable family relationship. It hasn't been all that tough, though my wife and I have gone a few rounds. I'm glad to have been there, to be there for them all.

I'm a long haul trucker. That means I've missed birthdays, anniversaries, a lot of the firsts that a stay at home Dad is there for in the life of his family. Whenever anything happens, either good or bad, chances are good I've been several hundred miles away when it happened. When my son was born, an event I truly hoped to witness, I was in another state picking up freight. I'd have quit and gone home when my wife went into labor, but I figured I'd need a job the day after his delivery. I swallowed my anger and kept going.

I'd have done a lot of things differently if I had them to do over. I don't, so no sense wasting energy wishing for that. The thing though that strikes me most on this Father's Day is this: what an absolute privilege it has been to share the journey this far with my wife and kids. She volunteered for the journey, they didn't. No one has seen fit to abandon ship. Everyone is here not because they need to be or have to be here, but because they want to be here, most of all myself. The sheer privilege of sharing life with these people overshadows all the other gifts I could receive from them. On this Father's Day then, I'll conclude simply by saying 'Thank you', and meaning it to the depths of my soul.

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