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Father’s Day
Editorial

Father’s Day 

The best gift is being able to spend time with a beloved father or father figure, although a snake stick is awfully handy and who wouldn’t love a cool hat? TNT designer Urs Baur created our whimsical and Topanga-centric Father’s Day cover, and all of us at TNT wish all of our readers, everywhere, a very happy Father’s Day!

June 1 marked the start of Los Angeles County Fire Department brush clearance inspections. Many property owners are feeling overwhelmed by the lavish crop of weeds produced by the record rains, and are struggling to meet the requirements. Even those who finished early may be finding themselves coping with a second crop of weeds. Unfortunately, brush clearance coincides with peak nesting season. Birds and squirrels are vulnerable to tree cutting, and several bird species nest on the ground or in the tall grass. It’s important to check for nests before beginning any kind of tree trimming or weed whacking. 

The extended rainy season and cool June gloom have extended the spring wildflower bloom into the summer. Vivid blue larkspur (Delphinium parryi), golden yarrow (Eriophyllum confertiflorum), and the soft gray foliage and lavender blossoms of purple sage (Salvia leucophylla) create a rainbow of living color on a canyon hillside in the newly dedicated 325-acre Sheila James Kuehl Nature Preserve at Ladyface Mountain in Agoura Hills. Photo by Suzanne Guldimann

Father’s Day is on June 18. It’s a surprisingly contentious holiday, one that took six attempts by Congress before it was made a permanent national holiday. The first attempt was in 1913, a year before Mother’s Day was officially established on the second Sunday in May. Woodrow Wilson signed the observance of Mother’s Day into law in 1914, but was unable to convince Congress that Father’s Day should also be recognized. 

Calvin Coolidge also failed to convince Congress that an official day honoring fathers was a good idea. The congressional majority argued both times that the holiday would become commercialized, and pointed to the proliferation of Mother’s Day merchandise that was already flooding stores.

Lyndon B. Johnson issued the first presidential proclamation designating the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day. Richard Nixon signed the legislation making the holiday permanent in 1972. 

If the worthy congressmen of Wilson’s day could see the drug store racks filled with tacky cards and cheap tchotchkes covered in cliche fishing and golf puns and proclaiming “#1 Dad” they would perhaps feel entirely vindicated—our favorite this year was a Star Wars themed “Yoda Best Dad” card, because nothing says “caring father figure” like the menacingly masked Darth Vader. 

Some of us would give anything to be able to give one of those ridiculous cards to a beloved father or father figure who is no longer with us, to have just one more day, or hour, or minute with them. Father’s Day can be an emotional challenge for those who have suffered a loss, but also for those who never had a father in their life, or who are estranged from their family. 

For those fortunate people who have a beloved father, grandfather, godfather, brother, uncle, or father figure, this is an opportunity to take a moment to reach out and let them know that they are loved and appreciated. That was the intent of the holiday when it was first proposed. 

The butterfly mariposa, Calochortus venustus, is arguably one of the most beautiful California wildflowers. Mariposa means butterfly in Spanish, making this flower’s common name redundant, but its delicately marked petals, which can be white, pink, purple or yellow, really do resemble a butterfly’s wings. “Calochortus” means “beautiful grass, while “venustus” is for Venus, the Roman goddess of love and beauty. This almost luminous flower deserves its divine name. The butterfly mariposa is a California endemic species. It isn’t a species of concern like the yellow mariposa we featured in the June 2 issue of TNT, but this flower is vanishingly rare in the Santa Monica Mountains, only growing in a few locations, and only appearing when conditions are right. Seeing it in abundant bloom this June was a delight. Photo by Suzanne Guldimann

There is now another holiday on the calendar in June. Juneteenth is the day after Father’s Day this year. It celebrates the abolishment of slavery on the day that emancipation was officially announced in Texas following the end of the American Civil War. Juneteenth has been observed in the African American community in Texas from the beginning, and has gathered support nationwide in the second half of the 20th century. In 1996, legislation was introduced to the US House of Representatives to recognize Juneteenth. The holiday received official recognition as a federal holiday in 2021, when President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law.

There is another major holiday in June, an ancient one celebrated by cultures around the world for thousands of years. The summer solstice arrives on Wednesday June 21 this year. It marks the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. The word “solstice” comes from the Latin for “sol”—sun, and “sistere”, the root word for “stasis,” or standing still. It is both the start of summer, and the point at which the days begin to grow shorter again. 

Summer is here, the solstice says, but once that moment has passed, we will be moving inexorably towards winter and the shortest day of the year in December. The message handed down from antiquity? Carpe diem—seize the day. 

Stay safe, be well.

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