Thursday, September 10, 2015

Lessons

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My Dad would be in his late 70s now. I can’t imagine how grumpy he'd be. On a scale of irritated to livid, he was all of them some days in those last several years. (As I age, I aim to avoid grumpy old fart syndrome.) Despite this, there have been times in this last decade when I missed him like a little kid. Which is odd, because as a little kid, I never missed him. He was always working. It’s just the way it was. I saw him at supper time. Sometimes. Occasionally, we would watch TV together. Mostly though, I watched TV while he slept. In my teen years he would take me for a drive. I’m fairly certain now that he was trying to fix something about me because we were absolutely and completely different in almost every way. Plus, I was nothing like his other sons. It worried him. I enjoyed those drives though. And depending on my mood, I learned to do two things: either jack up his blood pressure by broaching taboo topics or just nod so as to avoid disappointing him so much.

In my adult years I learned the mature thing was to steer the subject away from the grumpy stuff. It didn’t always work. Eventually, certain topics were totally banned:
a.       politics
b.      politicians
c.       political ideology
d.      various Fords that had betrayed him.

Not long before he died he and I installed a screen door together and when we finished he said, "There. Now we can quit fighting." That surprised me. Where did he get that idea? We weren't fighting; we were just disagreeing. After thinking about it for a while I realized the truth but I didn’t have the heart to tell him: he was mostly fighting with himself. Despite grumpy periods, my Dad taught me things I still think about and I’m certain he would find it silly and unfortunate which things actually stuck with me:

  • Pepper puts hair on your chest. So does sauerkraut.
  • If you pick your nose and eat it, flies will grow in your stomach. (My favourite.)
  • Women should not be skinny.
  • Travel.
  • Fly.
  • If it’s truly a good Western, at some point a woman should punch a man.
  • You don’t need a drink.
  • You're not as good as your brothers. 
  • A brand new vehicle is probably a waste of money.
  • Insurance is a scam.
  • Don’t be mean to girls.
  • Driving fast is worth the risk.
  • Some people don’t pay their bills but you always will.
  • Give your kids whatever they want.
  • Never let go of your fishing rod.
  • Help your neighbours, even the ones who are idiots.
  • Hard work is all there is.

At least for some of these lessons, thank you Dad. 

2 comments:

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Your Dad sounds like many Dads of his era. I like his insight on good Westerns.

Bonnie said...

My favorite of your dad's was.....spoken in a slow drawl " well Bonnie, did you kill anybody yet?!"

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