My ‘Sweet & Precious’ Dad true example

Joe Cannon
Posted 6/17/17

We all know in the hierarchy of the family cell, moms out-ranked dads.

Actually the true order goes: mothers, kids, mom’s family (parents, siblings, nephews, nieces), the family pets and then …

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My ‘Sweet & Precious’ Dad true example


We all know in the hierarchy of the family cell, moms out-ranked dads.

Actually the true order goes: mothers, kids, mom’s family (parents, siblings, nephews, nieces), the family pets and then dads.

Even in the establishment of the “Father’s Day” holiday, it was an afterthought. A “tacked on” that didn’t become “official” until a decade after Mother’s Day.

The Mother’s Day we now celebrate has its origins in the peace-and-reconciliation campaigns of the post-Civil War era

During the 1860s, at the urging of activist Ann Reeves Jarvis, one divided West Virginia town celebrated “Mother’s Work Days” that brought together the mothers of Confederate and Union soldiers.

However, Mother’s Day didn’t become a commercial holiday until 1908, when–inspired by Jarvis’s daughter, Anna Jarvis, who wanted to honor her own mother by making Mother’s Day a national holiday. The John Wanamaker department store in Philadelphia sponsored a service dedicated to mothers in its auditorium.

Thanks in large part to this association with retailers, who saw great potential for profit in the holiday, Mother’s Day caught on right away.

In 1909, 45 states observed the day, and in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson approved a resolution that made the second Sunday in May a holiday in honor of “that tender, gentle army, the mothers of America.”

The campaign to celebrate the nation’s fathers did not meet with the same enthusiasm, perhaps because, as one florist explained, “fathers haven’t the same sentimental appeal that mothers have.”

On July 5, 1908, a West Virginia church sponsored the nation’s first event explicitly in honor of fathers, a Sunday sermon in memory of the 362 men who had died in the previous December’s explosions at the Fairmont Coal Company mines in Monongah, but it was a one-time commemoration and not an annual holiday.

The next year, a Spokane, Wash., woman named Sonora Smart Dodd, one of six children raised by a widower, tried to establish an official equivalent to Mother’s Day for male parents.

She went to local churches, the YMCA, shopkeepers and government officials to drum up support for her idea, and she was successful: Washington State celebrated the nation’s first statewide Father’s Day on June 19, 1910.

Slowly, the holiday spread. In 1916, President Wilson honored the day by using telegraph signals to unfurl a flag in Spokane when he pressed a button in Washington, D.C., but it wasn’t until 1924 that President Calvin Coolidge urged state governments to observe Father’s Day.

That’s the way it was in our home as well, but not by command, but rather by the choice of our dad, Gene Cannon.

While many men try to be the macho, “head of the household” leader, ruling with an iron fist and a “because I said so,” attitude, my dad took a more humble approach.

I can honestly say I never heard my parents argue or yell at each other. Not that they didn’t have disagreements, they did, but because my dad was a wise man who believed the old adage, if momma ain’t happy, nobody’s happy.

He realized yelling and screaming to “win” an argument would bring harm to his and mom’s relationship.

It was more important to him to have a happy home, rather than to be “right.”

Realizing you sometimes “lose” by “winning,” he still carries that philosophy to this day. He’s always said, “I’m a lover, not a fighter.”

That’s why the people at Life Care (where he lives), and all over town, know him as “Sweet and Precious,” his pat answer when asked how he is.

When you get past all the “glitz and glamour” my dad projects, you find he is a man who loves the Lord, his family and just about everyone he comes in contact with.

The third and final child of Roscoe and Mamie Cannon, a factory worker at Hardwick Stove and a nurse, dad was born in 1926 and raised in Cleveland during the Great Depression.

He was a trumpet player and captain in the Bradley Band before being drafted to serve our country as a sailor in World War II midway through his senior year.

“I went to volunteer for the Army (in the summer of 1943) and they wouldn’t take me because of my eyesight,” he likes to tell.

“Six months later I got called up in the draft. When I went back, the same doctor that had rejected me asked me if I wanted Army or Navy?

“I told them he wouldn’t take me six months earlier.

“He just looked up at me and said, ‘What do you want, Army or Navy?’

“I chose the Navy since the Army didn’t want me when I volunteered.”

He was in the jungles of the Philippines when his classmates were getting their diplomas. His was mailed to my grandmother.

After the Axis forces wisely surrendered in the face of such an enemy, dad returned to Cleveland, where he caught the eye of a pretty girl who had moved here from Missouri.

Showing the superior intelligence which had made him such an intricate cog in the Allied war machine, he begged her to marry him, which he admits is the smartest move he ever made.

Married on 4-4-47, they were together for almost 70 years when mom passed away in February.

They had four sons by birth and numerous other children by loving choice.

My relationship with dad has had many facets over my 57-plus years, but the consistency has always been the wonderful example of Christian love he exudes.

While there has never been a doubt my dad loves the limelight and being the center of attention, there has also been countless hours of service behind the scenes in support of ministries to reach souls with the Good News of the Gospel.

While he never expected to live into his 90s, and he has a great desire to go onto heaven to be with Jesus and mom (not because of depression, but rather anticipation), his daily prayer is what our Lord prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, “... nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt (Matthew 26:39).”

Like good “fathers” do, my dad has always been willing to put his preferences aside for those he loves.

Gene Cannon, thanks for being my dad and showing me the way to be a father to my children.

I love you dad.

Happy Father’s Day.


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