Top 10 Things I Learned From Dad
1. That everybody has a story. And they may never tell it to you. Dad is man of very few words, and will never tell anyone the wonderful things he's done. For example (and this is just one of many), I recently found an envelope with his old Army discharge papers in it. I was reading through some of that paperwork and found that there was a letter that had been sent to his superior from a woman who had been in a car wreck. To make long story somewhat shorter, she, her daughter, and her mother were hit by a drunk driver and left for dead. Dad (who would've been about 20) and his Army buddy were on the highway too and saw what happened. Dad took care of the women and girl, wrapped them in blankets, worked to slow their bleeding, deal with their injuries, and comfort them while his friend drove ahead to get help. Once more help had arrived, Dad and his friend went in search of the drunk driver who had hit them and found him at the nearest bar, where they held him until the police arrived. The women and girl all survived and, after months in the hospital, they located Dad's superior to ask that he order Dad to take the money they were sending to have his clothing cleaned because one of the woman remembered that the man who helped them had been covered in their blood, and to give Dad their letter of thanks, as they believed they had lived because of his care. And he never said a word about it in all these years. You just never know what someone's story might be.
2. All the skills a country kid needs to know. How to garden, ride a horse, fish, shoot, hunt, and butcher.
3. That kids are the very best thing. His biological children, his foster children, all of our friends, the kids who just showed up at our door because they had nowhere to go (yep, actually happened), the "kids" he met when they were 20 or 30 but they're still "the kids' to him.
4. That if you have a bumper crop of carrots and get sick and tired of scrubbing them all in the kitchen sink, you can just throw them in the washing machine. True story.
5. Think for yourself. Do what you know is right in your heart. It doesn't matter what everybody else is doing or what they think of you.
6. That "everybody does the best they can with what they've got". That being said, I have heard a few folks (mostly politicians) called "crooked son of a (word not appropriate for my blog)". I'm not sure if he really believes they're doing their best.
7. That optimism is a beautiful thing. He has lived through the Great Depression, World War II, and was drafted for Korea, and through everything he never felt anything but optimism about the future.
8. Don't borrow money. Or lend it. If you want to help someone out, just give it as a gift.
9. Laugh. A lot. So hard you can't talk.
10. The Good Lord will take care of everything.
Of course, there are still a few things I'm trying to figure out.
1. If meals of primarily animal fats, bacon, beef, eggs and salt might actually keep you healthy. Seems to have worked well for him!
2. How someone can say maybe 15 words a week and still somehow say it all.
3. How long is "From hell to breakfast"? (Does anybody else use this figure of speech??)
4. How I could be so Blessed to have this man for my Dad.
So there it is, my little birthday tribute to the greatest cowboy I've had the honor to know.
What did you learn from your Dad, or what are your children learning from their Dad?
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