Celebrate An Amarillo Made Holiday, Mother-In-Law Day, On Sunday
Amarillo is no secret to the odd, weird, and wonderful. Our, arguably, most famous features are a massive steak and some half buried cars covered in generations of graffiti. I don't think anything compares, though, to a national holiday that it got its start in Yellow City; Mother-In-Law Day.
Be Careful What You Say About Your Mother-In-Law
Mother-In-Law Day started because someone's mother-in-law got offended, if you can believe it. It wound up involving the First Lady of the United States, massive parades, and national attention; but it all started with a mother-in-law getting a bit huffy over something somebody said.
It's hard to believe, I know, but those are the facts as they were presented to me.
A Media Man Who Offended His Mother-In-Law
According to several articles and recollections about the lesser known mother inspired holiday, things got started in 1934. That was when then editor of the Amarillo Globe-News, Gene Howe, published something that drew the ire of his mother-in-law.
His mother-in-law, and mothers-in-law across the city, raised enough hell that it inspired Gene to apologize.
Hard to believe a bunch of mothers-in-law blowing something way out of proportion, I know, but supposedly that's how it went.
The Apology Was One That None Of Us Will Ever Live Up To
This is where I wind up having an issue with Mr. Howe. While I'm not sure exactly what he published and how bad it was, there is no excusing this level of "raising the bar" for future generations of sons-in-law.
Howe put together a city-wide event that eventually became a holiday, known as Mother-In-Law Day. Did he not think about how hard it would be for the rest of us to live up to such a grandiose display? Was there no "bro-code" in 1934?
In True Amarillo Fashion, Things Got Weirdly and Wildly Out of Hand
According to legend, Will Rogers mentioned it on his national radio show. Camera crews showed up to record the odd event. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, supposedly, even sent her regards.
Hotels filled up. Soon the city was a bustling hub of mothers-in-law. Hopefully they were all as nice and cordial as yours and mine.
Mother-In-Law Day Kept Growing, and Growing, and Growing
...to the point that governors declared it a state holiday on several occasions. On the fifth anniversary of the panhandle's biggest over-the-top apology, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt came to be in the parade herself.
Supposedly there was well over 125,000 in attendance.
The parade route ran for 10 miles. There was even a giant float carrying a small militia of mothers-in-law. It was a 165ft long battleship carrying around 500 mothers-in-law, who I'm sure all had nice things to say about each other's choice in attire.
Mother-In-Law Day As We Know It Today
Eventually, there would be a Mother-In-Law Day committee that would choose honorees. In the 1970s, the American Society of Florists got involved. They're the ones who decided that Mother-In-Law Day would be celebrated on the fourth Sunday of October every year.
This year, Mother-In-Law Day is being observed officially on October 24.
Thank You To All Mothers-In-Law
Surely, being a mother-in-law is tough. Mothers-in-law have long been the punchline to many a joke. I'm fortunate that I honestly have a wonderful mother-in-law.
Seriously, she's great.
This Sunday, be sure you wish your mother-in-law a happy Mother-In-Law Day, or you may never hear the end of it.