Yesterday was Father’s Day. It’s an easy day for us as there is only one father on which to heap all the attention. (Father-in-law lives out of town; father is deceased.) My husband is a lucky man, getting yesterday all to himself. Mother’s Day is tougher, what with all those mothers elbowing for the spotlight. I need to claim a super-secret Mother’s Day all to myself.
In honor of my late father, I composed the following list:
Things I learned from my father:
- Know how to read a map.
- Plan your route before you leave.
- Have a back-up plan.
- Deviate from the main road and enjoy.
- Develop an intimate relationship with nature and respect its rules. (Dad regularly took us on vacation to a private cabin in northern Michigan where we lived a week or longer without electricity, running water or heating/cooling.)
- Don’t be over-reliant on technology or modern conveniences. (See above. My father was a major technophobe. I don’t know how he would regard today’s 24/7 connectivity. He didn’t much like it when cordless phones came around.)
- You can’t have too many good books or good records.
- Don’t underestimate the healing power of a Sunday drive to somewhere interesting.
- Fill idle hands with books, brooms, rakes, paint scrapers and brushes. My father had an amazing work ethic. The only time he rested was either to admire his work or to assess the damages. (He was suspicious of idle TV viewing, sunbathing and other mindless pursuits.)
Things I learned indirectly through my father:
- Humor is an essential ingredient in almost every situation, but particularly in those that challenge your patience and sanity.
- Humor has both healing and hurting power. Use with care.
- Never part ways in anger.
Things I wish I’d taken the time to learn from my father:
- Our family history
- How to plant and maintain a perennial garden
- How to grow organic fruits and vegetables
- How to read the stars
- Don’t believe everything your parents tell you.