Today is one of the first Father's Days of our new millennium. Fathers of 1900 didn't have it nearly as good as fathers of today; but they did have a few advantages:
In 1900, fathers prayed their children would learn English.
Today, fathers pray their children will speak English.
In 1900, a father's horsepower meant his horses.
Today, it's the size of his minivan.
In 1900, if a father put a roof over his family's head, he was a success.
Today, it takes a roof, deck, pool, and 4-car garage. And that's just the vacation home.
In 1900, a father waited for the doctor to tell him when the baby arrived.
Today, a father must wear a smock, know how to breathe, and make sure film is in the video camera.
In 1900, fathers passed on clothing to their sons.
Today, kids wouldn't touch Dad's clothes if they were sliding naked down an icicle.
In 1900, fathers could count on children to join the family business.
Today, fathers pray their kids will soon come home from college long enough to teach them how to work the computer and set the VCR.
In 1900, fathers pined for old country Romania, Italy, or Russia.
Today, fathers pine for old country Hank Williams.
In 1900, a father smoked a pipe.
If he tries that today, he gets sent outside after a lecture on lip cancer.
In 1900, fathers shook their children gently and whispered, "Wake up, it's time for school."
Today, kids shake their fathers violently at 4 a.m., shouting: "Wake up, it's time for hockey practice."
In 1900, a father came home from work to find his wife and children at the supper table.
Today, a father comes home to a note: "Jimmy's at baseball, Cindy's at gymnastics, I'm at adult-Ed, Pizza in fridge."
In 1900, fathers and sons would have heart-to-heart conversations while fishing in a stream.
Today, fathers pluck the headphones off their sons' ears and shout, "WHEN YOU HAVE A MINUTE.."
In 1900, a father gave a pencil box for Christmas, and the kid was all smiles.
Today, a father spends $800 at Toys 'R' Us, and the kid screams: "I wanted Sega!"
In 1900, if a father had breakfast in bed, it was eggs and bacon and ham and potatoes.
Today, it's Special K, soy milk, dry toast and a lecture on cholesterol.
In 1900, a Father's Day gift would be a hand tool.
Today, he'll get a digital organizer.
In 1900, fathers said, "A man's home is his castle."
Today, they say, "Welcome to the money pit."
In 1900, "a good day at the market" meant Father brought home feed for the horses.
Today, "a good day at the market" means Dad got in early on an IPO.
In 1900, a happy meal was when Father shared funny stories around the table.
Today, a happy meal is what Dad buys at McDonald's.
In 1900, a father was involved if he spanked the kid now and then.
Today, a father's involved only if he coaches Little League and organizes Boy Scouts and car pools.
In 1900, when fathers entered the room, children often rose to attention.
Today, kids glance up and grunt, "Dad, you're invading my space."
In 1900, fathers threatened their daughters suiters with shotguns if the girl came home late.
Today, fathers break the ice by saying, "So...how long have you had that earring?"
In 1900, fathers pined for the old school, which meant a one-room, red-brick building.
Today, fathers pine for the old school, which means Dr J and Mickey Mantle.
In 1900, fathers were never truly appreciated.
In 2001, fathers were never truly appreciated.