What does Hajji Baba have to do with Iceland, or my Dad, you may ask? Although my genealogically inclined husband has been unable to document my Icelandic roots, through my Father or anyone else in our family, my Dad is a master of the oral tradition. Not only did he read stories to us, he told us stories. No, he didn't relate the Icelandic Sagas, but with equal improbability he related stories that had their basis in far-away Persia, or what is now Iran.
Dad didn't exactly recite the story of Hajji Baba, however. Instead, before or after a bedtime story, he might launch into his own fantastical stories regarding characters named Hajji Baba, Hammurabi, and Aachu (sorry, I don't know how to spell this one). Strangely enough, these characters lived in the light fixtures of our home! I took these stories at face value, and at the time didn't realize that any of them were based on fictional or historical figures.
I came across a truly lovely edition of Hajji Baba (The Adventures of Hajji Baba of Ispahan, by James Morier, illustrated by Cyrus LeRoy Baldridge, Random House, 1937) for $5 in a used bookstore somewhere, and bought it. And once again, my bookshelves contained an interesting clue. As I looked through it today, there on the last page, "About this edition ... ," I discovered that it was designed in collaboration with the Book-of-the-Month Club. My Dad may have owned the very same edition when he was a kid. What do you think, Dad--does this bring back any memories?:
Finally, my readers are, no doubt, asking themselves why I didn't put an apostrophe before the "s" in Fathers. There is a reason! After deep contemplation, I decided to be nonconformist because I liked the mental image of many happy Fathers, all across the country. In other words, it isn't just a day belonging to each Father, in which you hope he will be happy ... rather, it is a day when the Fathers are Happy--all of them, everywhere!
Here's to taking the apostrophe out of Fathers Day, and making it "Happy Fathers" Day, not happy "Father's Day."