Thursday, June 26, 2014

50 (+) Things I Learned From Daddy

June is not an easy month for me. My father’s birthday was on June 9. Father’s Day has been bittersweet for me since Daddy died on June 26 (that’s right, June again) 1990. It’s been 24 years this year since I’ve had my Daddy. He lives on in my heart, in my memories, in the wisdom he shared. I need to celebrate him so I will share some of his wit to honor him and his memory.  

He taught me:

  1. Appreciation of a good steak (and it can’t be found at Outback, sorry)
  2. The importance of staying involved (in your community, church, etc.)
  3. Children matter
  4. How to tip well (and why you always should)
  5. The beauty of the Arts (Ballet, Opera, Jazz, the Symphony)
  6. Register to vote and then DO IT!
  7. How to keep a well stocked liquor cabinet
  8. The difference between good liquor and really fine liquor
  9. The medicinal purposes of some alcohol
  10. The difference between a real football fan and a fan of a particular football team
  11. How to grocery shop and meal plan
  12. How to identify corrosion on battery cables, get rid of said corrosion and keep it at bay (not with a Coke either)
  13. How to change a tire;
  14. The value of keeping a Triple A membership
  15. How to drive a stick shift AND the purpose of each gear;
  16. When to shut up
  17. How to give someone “The Look” that will make them shut up
  18. Mystery stories (a la Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine)
  19. That there is more than one way to worship God; just because someone doesn’t go to the same church as you do, or share your faith doesn’t mean that they love God any less;
  20. Being impulsive and indulging whims
  21. Never forgetting a kindness
  22. There is no good reason to wait to tell someone you love them or better yet to show it
  23. POETRY! (he gave me my first book of poetry; thank you Daddy)
  24. Pastrami sandwiches (I know this may seem like a small thing, but there are few “real” Jewish delis in New Orleans)
  25. New Orleans is not the only place in the world to live nor is it the only place in the world with good food (see # 24 and the pastrami comment)
  26. There is no other place in the world quite like New Orleans and if you leave, you will always miss it (I do)
  27. Always look for a bargain
  28. Editors edit, commentators comment, and critics critique. It’s their job to do so, but that doesn’t mean that they are always right
  29. Pajamas can be the garment of choice in many situations
  30. Neither education alone, nor IQ can predict achievement; however...
  31. Education is important;
  32. Don’t be a doormat
  33. READ!
  34. PRAY…more than once a day
  35. “War is hell, and doubly so when you’re Black” (written by Daddy to me on the face sheet of Come Out Fighting, the book which chronicles the feats of his Tank Battalion, the 761st, in WWII)
  36. Family is made up of the people you love…whether or not there exist “blood ties”
  37. Don’t just learn how to cook, learn how to cook well
  38. There is a proper way to wash the dishes (glassware first!)
  39. Standards (the musical kind)
  40. To spontaneously break into song anywhere and for any reason
  41. Counting to 10 before losing it (I’m still working on this one as was Daddy before he died)
  42. A love of learning
  43. Sometimes race matters when it shouldn’t (and vice versa)
  44. That I am just as smart as anyone else
  45. It doesn’t matter what people think of you as long as YOU know what you’re doing
  46. Familiarize yourself with Public Transportation…always
  47. Your opinions are just that: YOURS. If people want to know, they’ll ask
  48. Don’t ask the hard question if you are not ready for the answer (and then don’t get angry if you ask anyway and GET the hard answer)
  49. LAUGH…a lot!
  50. Sometimes all you have to offer is a cool drink, and that will be enough
  51. You cannot buy class (although he would have used the term "deportment")
  52. Quality tobacco does not smell badly. If your cigar stinks, then it's probably a cheap one
  53. The benefit of hard work
  54. Good parents are usually the experts on their children, so don't let "experts" make recommendations for your children with which you do not agree. Be an advocate...a STRONG one

I could probably keep this list going on and on as I think about my Father and what he meant to me. Much of what am I today comes from lessons like these. It is in this that he lives on; I am comforted and I can smile.  Memories are the treasure I get to keep.

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