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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Wisdom From my Dad

Since Father's Day falls on a Sunday, and weekends around here involve multi-acre grass-cutting projects after which I am semi-comatose, I decided to talk about my dad, and his day, a little early.

I've always loved this quote:

“I know how syrupy this sounds, how dull, provincial, and possibly whitewashed, but what can I do? Happy childhoods happen”
Marisa de los Santos, Belong to Me

It's true, you know: not all writers come from dark backgrounds. Writing is imagination. And I was blessed with wonderful parents who fostered my imagination (though they're now wishing, I'm sure, I had a little less imagination and a little more nine-to-five ladder climbing).

Dad and Riddick, off on guy business

My dad's a smart guy. One of four children from modest means, he went to Georgia Tech on a scholarship, back in the day, and graduated with an Aerospace Engineering degree. Like I said, smart. He's always been a military history buff, a movie fan, an avid reader, and a seriously level head when it comes to politics and business. Growing up, my brother and I received so much education at home: he wasn't one of those "because I'm the dad and I said it was so" fathers. He discussed things with us. World events, elections, divided opinions, history, literature, religion...he spoke to us like we were adults, never lecturing, always informing, and leaving us to come up with our own opinions. No textbook or droopy-eyed, tired teacher ever had anything on my dad. You ask him about a war, about the history of our nation, about the Founding Fathers, he knows, man. (I need to pick his brain about some things in my new book, now that I think about it). He works in insurance, in risk-assessment, so my brother and I were on the receiving end of some colorful anecdotes about what happens when you run with scissors...or stick your hand in a lawnmower...or let yourself get stuck to the filter at the bottom of a pool. Nightmares? A few. And I've been known to warn my peers with lines like, "Don't get near that (horrifying piece of machinery) or your (insert body part) will get (maimed beyond recognition)!" Safety first, kiddos. Safety first. And always use protective eyewear!

My poor dad has spent almost twenty-six years tolerating a menagerie of animals he never wanted. Has supported my mom's and my dream of a farm. Has HAND-DUG more post holes than I can count so that we could have a beautiful, safe fence. Has helped us live our duct-taped-together and one-board-at-a-time country life. I worry every day that I've let him down by not living up to the dreams he had for me. And I hope all the time that I can somehow repay him for his kindnesses.

His amazing fencework

So in honor of Father's Day, wisdom from my dad:

Do not run with scissors. Or screwdrivers. Or power tools. Or pointy-ended shovels. Or anything sharp at all, really. You should have closed-toe shoes on while carrying it, too, come to think of it. And safety glasses. And sunscreen. Maybe a helmet.
Do not crack your head open on low-hanging branches while mowing the yard. You will require seventeen staples in your head and be forced to sit in the ER for untold hours.
Always double check that the door's locked. And triple check. And quadruple check. And...what comes after quadruple?
Pertaining to turning off water pumps at the barn: see above about doors.
Never let anyone bully you into agreeing with them. If they have to resort to name-calling, their argument never held any water to begin with, and they're the ones who will look stupid.
Be honest. Don't take more than you paid for.
Take your vitamins.
Your faith in God isn't tied to a brick and mortar church. He hears you no matter where you pray.
George Washington refused to be king: remember that.
A woman is at her strongest when she knows how to be cautious, and how to defend herself in the best way she can.
Read the classics, because we have to know where literature began in order to carry it forward.
Thank you so much, Dad, for all that you do, and all that you will do! Happy Father's Day!!

1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful tribute to your Dad!!!! He is all that you say he is and more. You are so lucky and blessed and you know it. He is so blessed and fortunately to have a wonderful daughter like you. We love each one of you!!!!!