Saturday, February 12, 2011

Stuff I learned from my father


From time to time, I notice myself doing something I learned from my dad.

I got a heightened awareness of these learned habits when my stepson Austin was living with us, largely because he hadn’t learned some of the basic walking-around stuff that you pick up from your father. That’s because his father was generally absent for several formative years. I did my best to fill in the gaps whenever I noticed them.

So here are a few of the things I learned from my dad:

  • Never leave the house without your wallet, watch and keys. Never.
  • Cottage cheese is better with some black pepper sprinkled on it. Not paprika.
  • Be a good listener.
  • Always know which direction North is.
  • Carry a pocket knife and a ballpoint pen.
  • Treat your possessions carefully, so they will last a long time.
  • Dedicate the top drawer of your dresser to neat stuff.
  • Always carry a handkerchief.
  • Know when it’s time to pay an expert to do mechanic-type work.
  • Morel mushrooms are the most delicious thing in the world when battered and fried.
  • Be sympathetic to the underdog.
  • Root for I.U. and the Chicago White Sox. (I gave up on the Sox after they blew the 1957 World Series.)
  • Don’t interrupt or talk over other people. Wait for an opening to speak.
  • Always have a dog in your life.
  • A nap with a dog at your side is a wonderful thing.
  • Make sure your kids know you love them and are proud of them.
  • Know your country’s history.
  • Pay your bills on time.

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