Monday, June 16, 2008

Things I Learned From My Father.

Yesterday was Father's Day, and as my husband and my father are both pretty low-maintenance people when it comes to most holidays, we didn't do much to mark the occasion. We did have my parents over for dinner, and the girls gave the Mister breakfast in bed. (As he never eats breakfast, it consisted of a glass of water, served by Thing 2, because Thing 1 wasn't up yet.)
I didn't get my dad a card or a gift or anything, because at this stage of his life, the last thing he needs is more stuff. Besides, all the cliche cards at the store portray fathers as sports-obsessed, Lazy-Boy occupying, monosyllabic tool-monkeys who's only aquaintance with cooking is the BBQ. My father is none of the above. (Especially the 'monsyllabic' part.)

So, my father's day gift is this: "Things I Learned From My Father".

  • Never leave the house without a book. Seriously, NEVER.
  • There's no such thing as 'too much garlic', except, perhaps, in chocolate ice cream.
  • Make lists. Lots and lots of lists.
  • Fill up when it gets down to a quarter of a tank. Especially in a snowstorm.
  • People who are interested in ideas are never bored.
  • Maybe it's not the book that's stupid.
  • Try every food once.
  • Public speaking is worth getting good at.
  • Be on time. (In fact, this is the one thing my father taught me that I am physically incapable of unlearning. Growing up in the "House of the Hyperpunctual" has had an indelible impact on me, and I show up for parties way, way too early as a result. Also, this has resulted in some of the biggest fights of my marriage, since my husband's altogether cavalier attitude towards time makes some serious inroads on my sanity.)
  • Routine is not boring, it is comforting. Routine makes your life easier. Plus, if you do not show up at the library on Tuesdays before noon, the librarians will get worried and send out a search party.
  • You can't teach some people anything.
  • It's worth cultivating a relationship with your butcher.
  • Appreciate what you've got. Someone will always have more or less than you, but you have what you have; enjoy it.
  • Be interested in people; where they came from, what's their story, what makes them tick. You will almost always be rewarded.
  • Being clever and being smart are not the same thing.
  • Especially when travelling, never pass up a bathroom or an opportunity to eat something. You never know when your next chance will be.
  • Everything looks better after a decent meal and a good night's sleep. Don't skimp on either.
  • Have good handwriting.

Thanks, Dad!

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