2007 Happy Fathers Day

world's greatest dad balloon

My father was born in 1904. Although he was born in what would eventually become Poland, here are some interesting facts about America in that year:

  • The average life expectancy in the U.S. was 47 years old.

  • Only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone.
  • A three-minute call from Denver to New York City cost $11.00.
  • An average employee had to work 50 hours to make that $11.00 call.
  • There were only 8,000 cars in the U.S. and only 144 miles of paved roads.
  • The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph.
  • The Eiffel Tower was the tallest structure in the world.
  • More than 95 percent of all births in the U.S. took place at home.
  • Most women only washed their hair once a month and used borax or egg yolks for shampoo.
  • Canada passed a law prohibiting poor people from entering the country for any reason.
  • The three leading causes of death in the U.S. were:
    1. Pneumonia and influenza
    2. Tuberculosis
    3. Diarrhea

  • The population of Las Vegas, Nevada was 30.
  • Crossword puzzles, canned beer, and iced tea hadn't been invented.
  • There was no Mother's Day or Father's Day.
  • Only 6 percent of all Americans were high school graduates.
  • Coca Cola contained cocaine.
  • Marijuana, heroin and morphine were all available over the counter at corner drugstores.
  • There were only about 230 reported murders in the entire U.S. [of course, this was before gun control laws were passed.]
  • Worst of all, movies were a few seconds long.

And just as I have told you these shocking things, my children will one day write to their friends that I was born in 1945 and in that year, these facts will horrify them:

No one had a TiVo, Ipod, cellphone or computer and there was no Internet!!!!

No other statistic would be needed to demonstrate the primitive and savage culture I was born into.

So Happy Father's Day, all you new fathers and old dads.

On a sad note, my father died 22 years ago this month. I keep photos of my father in an old Chinese sewing box, not much different than the one pictured here. I like to open it on this day and shuffle the old black and white images in my hands. There is one of me holding my father's hand as we walk through some garden in Germany - I was three in the photo - I don't recognize the place - but I do remember that I had to run to keep up with my father's brisk walk. When I was a boy back then, days were a steep hill - a handful of days in summer took what seemed like years to pass. Now that I've crested that hill, I am coasting the rest of the way. Years pass in what seem to be a handful of days in summer.

Sometimes, I recall things my father had told me but that I had forgotten until I looked afresh at the photos. It's funny how certain memories can stay locked in the darkness of your brain for years and suddenly come to mind. I brought up my two children with only one rule: never lie to your father. I told them them they could murder, steal, pillage, cheat and torture - but they could never, ever, ever lie to their father. With this one rule, devoutly obeyed, I would always know if they did something wrong, since they knew that whatever they did wrong, it was better to confess it to me than lie, since I held all other sins to be merely venal, and lying to me to be The Most Mortal of Sins. I had forgotten the reason I brought them up this way but was reminded by the article I wrote yesterday about District Attorney Nifong.

When I was browsing through my father's photos today, something clicked about Nifong lying and Al Sharpton and others using that lie to further their own evil purposes. It was then I recalled something my father used to tell me often long ago. It was in Polish so I will translate it as best I can into English. "A lie is a seed that once planted - anyone may reap the harvest."

Perhaps I should look more often at my father's photos.

### End of my article ###

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