Poets’ Corner: Feela for Father’s Day

Poets’ Corner: Feela for Father’s Day

Perusing the Internet for what to say about Father’s Day, I came upon some interesting though relatively obscure facts about the holiday. During the 1920s and 1930s, a movement arose to scrap Mother’s Day and Father’s Day altogether in favor of a single holiday, Parents’ Day. Every year on Mother’s Day, pro-Parents’ Day groups rallied in New York City’s Central Park – a public reminder, said Parents’ Day activist and radio performer Robert Spere, “that both parents should be loved and respected together.” Paradoxically, however, the Depression derailed this effort to combine and de-commercialize the holidays. Struggling retailers and advertisers redoubled their efforts to make Father’s Day a “second Christmas” for men, promoting goods such as neckties, hats, socks, pipes and tobacco, golf clubs and other sporting goods, and greeting cards. When World War II began, advertisers began to argue that celebrating Father’s Day was a way to honor American troops and support the war effort. By the end of the war, Father’s Day may not have been a federal holiday, but it was a national institution. In 1972, in the middle of a hard-fought presidential re-election campaign, Richard Nixon signed a proclamation making Father’s Day a federal holiday at last. The third Sunday of June is now all about celebrating the contribution that fathers and father figures make for their children’s lives, however equivocal . Some fathers are saints; some Santini – as the poem by our David Feela suggests. Honor thy father? Well, maybe, but with definite reservations.
From "The Great Santini"

From “The Great Santini”

Home on a Sacrifice

On a summer Sunday afternoon
with a backyard between us
there was always the crack
of the bat, the hard grounder
that took a bad bounce and got through.
I knew there would be more
but it never stopped our practice.
Sunday was my training camp.
I thought I’d learn to anticipate
your swing, dig in for the line drive,
lean back for the pop fly.
You hit them all at me, wanted me
to have the skill to know what to expect.
You watched me like a scout
for a professional team,
fed the ball to my weak side constantly
until it was only natural to move toward the left,
then you hit to my right
or over my head.
I never knew what to expect from you.


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