Things my dad taught me

I had a typical 1960’s upbringing – mommy stayed home and daddy spent a lot of hours working to support us.  Then he’d come home, pour a drink and yell “I’m not home” every time the phone rang.  Even now, if my dad answers the phone at home, I’m always taken aback to hear his voice on the other end saying “hello?”  I credit my aversion to phone conversations to my dad. 

I look like my dad – dark hair, olive complexion, dark eyes.  My mom and my brothers are all blonde haired and blue eyed.  I’ve often said to my dad “Gee, I know who my dad is but I wonder who’s my mom.” 

I inherited my dad’s bizarre and irreverrant sense of humor and we’re the ones guaranteed to laugh at the most inappropriate times – funerals, speeches, or anything that’s supposed to be serious. We’ve never really had a totally serious discussion about anything.  There is always a joke or an aside or some kind of wry observation thrown in for levity.  It’s both a blessing and a curse.

I’m fiercly independent.  Dad is a strong supporter of “if you throw ’em in the water they’ll either swim or drown,” thus he taught me and my two brothers how to take responsibility for ourselves.  His favorite phrase when we were growing up – “Take some initiave Goddamn it” – is a mantra we love to mock now that we’re adults, but are secretly proud to repeat to our own children.

Dad likes cars.  I like cars, only not as much as he does. Dad and I both love Gone with the Wind and can quote whole passages from it.  He likes to do Prissy’s dialouge the best and he’s got an uncanny knack for it.    We’re both true crime junkies and Court TV is one of our favorite channels.

We’re rabid Democrats.  Dad always told me that if Mickey Mouse was the only Democratic candidate on the ticket, that’s who he’d vote for.   Me too.    We’re savagely loyal to our party and politics is one of our favorite topics of conversation.

Dad and I both enjoy anything bizarre, kitschy, or out of the ordinary.  We love good music, good food. funny stories,  and a good red wine.  We love having a close, loyal family.  We’re both believers in living for the moment and learning from our mistakes.  We’re cautious with money but aren’t afriad to buy ourselves the things we really want.  We’re believers in the family support system.  We love a good party.  Most of all, we love to laugh.

So, thank you Daddy.  Your influence on me has been huge.  Thanks for giving me the gift of laughter and the ability to look at life from a different angle.  Thanks for always sticking by me even when I screwed up.  Thanks for telling me how smart you think I am and for being a good listener when I need advice.   And thanks for always supporting my decisions, even when you disagreed with them, because it’s been important to me to have your acceptance for who I am.   

Happy Father’s Day, dad.  Now, where’s the Cabernet?

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11 Responses to “Things my dad taught me”


  1. 1 Simonne June 17, 2007 at 3:52 am

    Father’s Day in Australia is in September and I have to say I’ve read a few beautiful posts like this one today about some great dads and it’s made me reflect on my own relationship with my dad. It was certainly a fraught one in the early years, but is starting to settle into something far more comfortable and rewarding. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  2. 2 observantbystander June 18, 2007 at 5:55 am

    Thanks Simonne! Our relationship was also difficult when I was younger, but has gotton a lot better over the years.

  3. 3 niku June 18, 2007 at 8:00 am

    Feels good to read!

  4. 4 poseidonsmuse June 18, 2007 at 8:12 am

    What a fantastic tribute to your father. He sounds like a wise, humourous and loving man (alot like my own father – which really doesn’t surprise me given our friendship connection!). Perhaps we have the same mother (what with my dark hair and green eyes and all….we could at least be sisters!)? That’s it! Lol! Isn’t it funny where our memories take us when we reflect upon the important people in our lives?

    As “daddy’s little girl”, I spent much time with my father growing up. Now, the miles have separated us. And although he is the “strong silent type”, there is never a shortage of pride in his eyes when he spends time with me, even today. My father taught me (like yours) to be fiercely independent, resourceful and brave. He taught me how to fish, how to use a bow and arrow, how to build things, how to identify (make, model) classic cars (woohoo!). He also taught me alot about music (hence my passion for 50’s and 60’s culture). Here’s to you dad.

    Thank you for sharing your memories with us Observant. Cabernet it is…!

  5. 5 observantbystander June 18, 2007 at 8:26 am

    PM: Dads and daughters are great! I wish my dad had spent more time with me as a child, but he and my mother subscribed to the “girls go with the girls, and boys go with the boys” way of thinking. So I spent most of my time with mom, though I longed for my dad’s companionship. Later in years, I had the pleasure of working with him every day in our family business, which brought us closer together. He’s retired now and I don’t see him every day, but we’re still close. Much more so than my mother and I. By the way, dad was a greaser in the 50’s – I thought you’d get a kick out of that..

  6. 6 prisonmike June 18, 2007 at 10:16 am

    A fine piece of work. Not as much a heart tugger as a schematic on how the relationship developed. Being who I am, I dig schematics.
    I’d always heard that when you’re 14,15,16 or so, there’s no one in the world who’s dumber than your father. When you reach 21 though, his intelligence miraculously begins to recover. By the time 30-35 rolls around, he’s become smart enough to resume conversations with.
    Having met your Dad, he seems to be a lot like his daughter. I like ’em both.

  7. 7 observantbystander June 18, 2007 at 10:35 am

    Mike, Thanks! You know my dad, he’s crazy as a coot. He was a real asshole at times when I was growing up, although aren’t all fathers? Well, except you of course. Hope you had a nice Father’s Day. Was Al Jarreau good?

  8. 8 prisonmike June 18, 2007 at 1:05 pm

    We didn’t attend. I looked at the price of admission – 30 bucks a head! I love George Benson as much as the next guy but not 60 bucks worth. I saw several live remotes from there over the weekend and to call the crowd sparse would be doing them a kindness.
    I had a great F.D. I got breakfast cooked for me, went to band practice, came back and watched the US open, cooked hamburgers, then went to have Cold Stone ice cream. What’s not to love?

  9. 9 writerchick June 18, 2007 at 8:12 pm

    What a great tribute and what a great guy. He sounds a lot like my dad. In fact, your relationship reminds me of the one I had with my own. There is nothing better than father/daughter relationships like this. It’s the best. I hope he had a great Father’s Day.
    WC

  10. 10 miss texas June 24, 2007 at 3:15 pm

    well, thx O.B. for saying about our daddy the things that I, being discreet, have not been able to say publicly. Yes, it’s me-the twin daughter of different parents-and I have to say that everything sistergirl says about daddykins is absotively “da tru”,as we like to say in proximity to bayou country. Daddy and Kinky have it right when it comes to “irreverence”–“…anything that can be cried can be smiled…”[‘Ride’em Jewboy’, by Kinky Friedman] Love ya to my midwestern daddy from your favorite daughter

  11. 11 observantbystander June 25, 2007 at 10:59 am

    MT: Yes, and you shared your daddy with me when I was far away from mine so I’m doing that same now that daddy Ray has passed (as we say here in the MW).


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