By Bob Huber
Today’s topic is the month of June, which is bustin’ out all over with rambunctious celebrations like Father’s Day, weddings, the summer solstice, Flag Day, and the most wonderful day of all — my birthday.
As you can see, June is a frenzy of activity, spiked with cheap champagne and police roadblocks. But let’s take everything one at a time. First there’s Father’s Day.
When I was a kid, I didn’t celebrate Father’s Day with much enthusiasm. Mother’s Day was the Big Kahuna, because I knew who had the real power.
I traditionally went all out for Mom and bought her extravagant gifts like dish towels and kitchen matches. Mom was grateful, but later she put a stop to it.
“Gee, another dish towel,” she said. “Be still my beating heart.”
She said I was just like Dad, except I didn’t drink, yet. Mom was always shooting me and Dad down. I suffered, but Dad remained a typical husband of his day, drinking too much and reading little depending on what was lying around the outhouse.
One day he came bouncing into the kitchen waving a newspaper and told Mom, “Essie, we can’t have any more kids. Knock it off.”
“I just read that every third child born in the world is Chinese, and we’re due.”
That gives you a clue why I overlooked Father’s Day. But wedding days, now, they were big. Take my own first marriage, my only marriage.
There I was, a carefree young guy, living lavishly in college at government expense and happily driving a 1947 Studebaker with a dented hood and no hubcaps. One night at an outdoor social I heroically handed my jacket to a shivering blonde. She had long legs, high cheek bones, and a smile to knock your socks off.
I was debonair about it and said, “I’m a high roller living sumptuously on the GI Bill, and I’m looking for a beautiful doll with whom I might share a promising future. May I ask a few questions to determine your eligibility?”
“My, how suave, but no cigar,” she said. “I’m already engaged.”
I nodded knowingly. “That’s OK. If you qualify, we’ll invite your fiancée to our wedding. Is he here?”
“No,” she said. “He’s in Albuquerque.”
“Do you mean he left you in this evil environment without a duenna?”
“He’s a Baptist minister.”
“Give me back my jacket.”
The upshot was she refused, so I married her. It was a cold winter. That’s not altogether true, parts of it anyway. But I digress.
What happened was, she dumped her preacher and picked a date to elope with me — June 21. It wasn’t until that grand moment arrived that I realized June 21 was the summer solstice, the longest day of the year.
But it also was — THE SHORTEST NIGHT!
Oh, the wiles of women are without number. But I console myself with another significant event in June — my birthday.
I don’t remember much about my birth because I was very young, but I’m told that right off I held out my little hands for presents. I still love gifts. This year I’m hoping for a pool table and a magic cue to supplement my income with ill gotten gains.
Of course there’s also Flag Day, the only June holiday sanctioned by Congress, and it’s a wing-ding. Have you mailed your Flag Day greeting cards yet?
History has it that back in 1777, the nation’s leaders, led by slave owners in knickers, decreed that the American Flag should dominate state capitol domes. The flag was designed by legendary seamstress Betsy Ross who got her start knitting Red Cross mittens in a Kathy Lee Gifford sweat shop in a third-world country called Miami.
Some historians said poo-poo to Betsy and gave credit for the flag to Oprah Winfrey, but it didn’t catch on. There was something about the name Betsy that made the heart skip a beat in patriotic fervor.
Needless to say, the symbol we all know and love today was finally adopted in order to give federal employees another three-day weekend. It’s these little known facts that make June bust out all over.
Bob Huber is a retired journalist living in Portales.