Things I learned from my Dad

Father’s Day is coming up, which makes it convenient that this topic is on my mind.

It happened early today, when I piled Lucy up into the borrowed jogging stroller and set off to see if I could do 5k in less than an hour (don’t you judge me. I know I’m slow. I’ve come to terms with the slow. I’m working on distance since speed is out of the picture. I am saving pennies for a Nike+ Fuelband because that will fix me. And once I can jog for more than three minutes at a time, I have every faith I won’t be going so embarrassingly slow SO SHUT YOUR MOUTH AND LISTEN TO MY STORY).

Anyway, I was strolling down the bustling Kossuth backroads, listening to Tina Fey read “Bossypants” because I have put off reading that book for since it came out, and she came to the chapter where she talks about her father.

Don Fey. Apparently Don Fey is a grown-ass man, and black people find him stylish.

Which started me thinking about my own father, who is also a grown-ass man, though if anyone – regardless of skin tone – called him stylish I’m pretty sure they’d end up nose to nose with some sort of oiled and loaded firearm.

I owe a lot of myself to my Dad. Genetically, obviously, there are things I can blame him at least 50% for contributing.

Things like my boiling temper, which I take a pill for.

My short patience for teaching anyone anything, because obviously if I can do it you should be able to figure it out by standing next to me since I OOZE knowledge. Seriously this is why I never volunteer in classrooms or chaperone trips – it takes just one instance of me calling Suzy Topknot a blithering slimy mouthy bratface before I am on every shitlist in the Alcorn County School District.

Things like my lack of posterior. A coworker once told me “girl, they make built-in booty pants for that problem.”

Not-so genetically, a great deal of me stems from time spent around my Dad.

Being harsher than I realize to the people I love the most.

A weakness for sugar cookies and Diet Coke.

My dirty mouth, because while I personally have never heard Larry Wilkes utter anything harsher than “damn,” I feel in my heart that he harbors a deep and diverse vocabulary that would color a soldier’s cheeks.

My stubbornness.

And in the years I spent in my parents’ house, I also learned some valuable lessons. Things I have never and will never forget:

Be ever vigilant to your surroundings, especially when driving. You never know when you’ll be able to stop the car and pick up a wallet full of dollar bills.

Be early. You get to see cool stuff. (my husband has, fairly effectively, broken me of this…although I still get ready 4 hours ahead of time. I wait a lot.)

Don’t be ashamed to find something you like and learn every damn thing anyone has ever thought, written or said about it. You will end up with model airplanes and fishing gear and guns BUT YOU WILL KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT THEM ALL.

Follow your dream, even if it makes no sense and you end up with a scuba shop in the very heart of Northeast Mississippi. You will be better than most people – no matter how things turn out – because at least you tried.

Always maintain a healthy sense of fear in your children. I will never forget when Westley Essary broke the glass door in the church fellowship hall by playing baseball with a chair leg – I was terrified for my life and I was just in the same room. For the majority of my childhood I was obedient for the sole purpose of not inciting my Dad’s wrath. Not that I thought he would physically harm me, but because he would get so completely furious that I worried he might either spontaneously combust or go into orbit.

People are stupid, they lose their shit. And finders keepers. Therefore get a metal detector. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that if I ever had a metal detector of my own, I would likely never see my family again because I would immediately embark on a retracing of every surface I’d ever seen. Because OMG GOLD AND SILVER.

Cook. Cook what you like and do it well.

Anything can be learned, mastered, and conquered. One of the things I most admire about my father is his ability to do absolutely anything. I am therefore proud to say that while I’m not there yet, I am not afraid to try. I love to figure shit out. I am the best at assembling things and problem solving – and it’s because of him.

In conclusion, my father is indeed a grown-ass man, albeit maybe not astoundingly stylish, and he has given and taught me more than he probably ever will know. I am the person I am today because of him, and I wouldn’t trade any of that for all the ass in the land.

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