The Institute was a very popular place last week as the enticing aroma of fresh baked goods wafted throughout our office. Of course, this was all in the name of science, as they needed to cook a wide variety of foods to accurately assess the performance of different toaster ovens. After much toasting, baking, broiling, and noshing, the Institute determined that The Best Toaster Oven we currently offer still ranks number one in the marketplace. They also observed that it’s far easier to assemble a testing panel for toaster ovens than it is for digital scales.
Millar, a bachelor, died in 1926 after running up a flight of stairs. The 73-year-old had been known as a successful attorney and shrewd financier, but the reading of his will underscored his true passion in life: the practical joke.
His entire will was rife with pranks. He left a (previously sold) vacation home to a group of warring lawyers, and (nonexistent) brewery stock to temperance advocates.
And then there was the ninth clause of the document, which stipulated that Millar’s remaining estate — valued at around $500,000 — be left to the Toronto woman who gave birth to the highest number of children in the 10 years following his death.
The jackpot provoked a minor baby boom.
This was the ’30s, and families throughout the country were struggling to make ends meet. For many Toronto women, Millar’s estate seemed a legitimate solution to their Depression-era troubles. They bore child after child.
Meanwhile, the country’s top attorneys — Millar’s former colleagues, whose legs he may have been pulling one last time from six feet under — debated the legality of the will. The matter was even brought before the Supreme Court of Canada. But the document prevailed and the Stork Derby continued on.
In the end, four women split the purse. Alice Timleck, Kathleen Nagle, Annie Smith and Isobel MacLean had each given birth to nine children since 1926, and each received $125,000.
Millar’s intentions with the contest remain a puzzle. As he wrote in his will, “What I do leave is proof of my folly in gathering and retaining more than I required in my lifetime.”
Although he left behind no biological heirs, his legacy lives on through those 36 Stork Derby babies and his amusing story.
Participating in an activity together is a great way to celebrate the holiday and even launch a new annual tradition. According to researchers at Baylor University, it can even become a pivotal moment that strengthens your entire relationship.
The key is to choose an activity that’s appropriate for her age and fun for both of you. Here are some great activities for Dads and Daughters:
For the Younger Set
Imagination governs the lives of many little girls, and you can be her knight in shining armor if you close your eyes and play along. Take a seat at the tiny table and enjoy a pretend tea party with her and her stuffed animals. Or let her paint your nails and clip barrettes into your hair (make sure someone snaps an “after” photo because the two of you will cherish it later).
If her attention span permits, take her to a museum, or get dressed up and bring her as your date to the ballet. A baseball game works, too, if that’s more her — and your — style.
The Teen Years
During the terrible teens, your daughter may occasionally groan at how uncool you are. Try not to take it personally. You can win her respect and maintain a close bond by listening to her interests and making a commitment to spend time together.
The Baylor study also found that playing sports often brought fathers and daughters closer. So go for a bike ride, hit the roller rink or try rock-climbing.
If sports aren’t her (or your) thing, head to the kitchen and show her how to make your famous spaghetti sauce. Or prove that you’re the best dad ever by picking up tickets for her favorite band’s concert.
When She’s All Grown Up
Just because she’s out of the house doesn’t mean she’s out of your life. Dads and Daughters still need quality time. Make a monthly date to see a movie or grab a quick lunch. Or revisit one of the favorite activities you used to enjoy together when she was a child.
Human fathers may complain about having it tough when they’re enlisted to change a diaper or bring a nap-deprived toddler to the supermarket. But some dads in the animal kingdom do the lion’s — or seahorse’s — share of the parenting. Today we bring you nature’s most extreme Dads.
Consider the male African bullfrog. These huge amphibians first watch over the fertilized eggs and then are responsible for babysitting the tadpoles — all 4,000 of them. If the young are stranded in a shallow pool, it’s this extreme Dad who uses his thunder thighs to dig a channel so the kids can escape to deeper water.
In the tropical wetlands of Africa, Asia and elsewhere, the male jacana bird flies solo. After Mom lays the eggs, she leaves — to find a new breeding partner. Dad, meanwhile, incubates the eggs, teaches the chicks to find dinner, and will even carry an endangered baby under his wings, all while Mom remains absent.
The male emperor penguin is often a single parent, too, keeping an egg warm and going hungry for two long, cold Antarctic months while Mom’s away.
In Africa, the male lion may shirk his dad duties most of the time — he’s known for napping up to 20 hours a day — but when Mom’s out hunting, he guards the cubs and defends their territory. That thick mane around his neck is to protect against scratches during the vicious fights that can occur when a new male wants to join the family.
And then there’s the seahorse, where the father, not the mother, gets pregnant. These most extreme dads of this upright swimming species have a brood pouch, where the female deposits her eggs. Then, Dad gets to experience the miracles of weight gain, stretch marks, and labor. Within a few hours of giving birth, he’s ready to mate again.
You’re the apple of his eye. He’s the deserving owner of a mug that says “World’s Best Dad.” You and your pops, you’re pretty sure, deserve mention among other famous father-son duos such as Kirk and Michael Douglas and our 41st and 43rd presidents.
- Go fish: It’s you, your dad, a boat, and his lucky fishing lures. Actually hooking your dinner is optional.
- Hit the links: Or the batting cage, or the basketball court. Whatever the game, sports have a way of bringing fathers and sons together (just go easy on your old dad and let him win every so often).
- Tackle a project: Fathers seem to know everything, whether it’s rewiring the house or whittling, or just sorting through the stamp collection. Today’s the chance for him to pass on that knowledge.
- Root for the home team: Ditch the couch and catch the game live, in the fresh air.
- Fire up the grill: At the end of the day, what’s better than meat and fire and father and son?