Looking forward to Father’s Day next Sunday, I’ve been thinking about my father who has been gone for two decades now, but whose influence I still feel in my life every day. I’ve tried to identify exactly why and how his character continues to effect me, and in that process I’ve recalled some of the things I remember him saying to me or others. I’ve decided to share some of those things here, and I invite you to share some of the things you remember about your dad in the comments. It can be wise, spiritual, sad, happy, endearing or funny.
“Some people bring happiness wherever they go. Others bring happiness whenever they go.”
“You should always speak well of your enemies. After all, you made them.”
Sometime when a reckless driver passed us in the car, dad would say “Speed on, brother. Hell ain’t half-full yet.”
This is an excerpt from a letter to a missionary son, in his own handwriting:
“Your letter arrived right on time and all the news was welcome. Good to know your work is going along and that you are hanging in there tough…….I’ll get your money on its way next Friday. Glad to hear your suit is holding out, and your shoes, too. With Winter coming on, be sure to get what you need to stay warm and healthy, and if you need more of the green stuff, let me know. Take care of yourself and your companion, and keep working hard. We are so proud of you and love you. Love, Dad.”
When I was in tenth grade I was in A.P. Language Arts, and so I knew that the poetry of Edgar A. Guest was very outré and gauche, and cool people would not be caught dead reciting it in public. So you can imagine my mortification when dad was talking in church and began to recite “I’d Rather See a Sermon Than Hear One Any day”.
I’d rather see a sermon
than hear one any day.
I’d rather someone walk with me
than merely tell the way.
And on and on and on and on
da duh da duh da duh………
For I might misunderstand
all the lectures that you give.
But there’s no misunderstanding
how you act and how you live.
Looking back now, I am embarrassed at myself for being embarrassed. Dad’s preference for actions over words — for being a doer rather than a hearer — is perhaps the richest legacy he gave his children.
Dad’s taste in
poetry doggerel ran all the way from Edgar A. Guest to Ogden Nash. When I was very little, I can remember him repeating this to all us kids when we were going somewhere in the car, and we thought it was uproariously funny. I also remember that my mother gave him The Look, with raised eyebrows, but then she laughed, too. And I am proud to report that this part of our family heritage has now also been passed along to the next generation.
A marvelous bird is the pelican.
His bill can hold more than his bellican.
He can take in his beak
enough food for a week,
and I don’t see how in the hellican.
So what about you? What kind of stuff does your dad say? Please share in the comments!