Saturday, June 19, 2010

Lessons From My Father

A while back, I shared with you some lessons I learned from my mother.  As Father's Day approaches, it's time for lessons from daddy.  Here he is as a little boy.

And here, he's showing his fun side as a carefree teenager.

Now for the lessons from Ben:

1. Take long walks and carry a stick.

My father's father was a quiet man, whose first language was not English.  I have fond memories of him, one of which is watching him carve decorative patterns into a walking stick using his small pocket knife.  My father did the same thing.  He liked to take walks in the country carrying one of these sticks.  I wish I knew where these pretty sticks ended up.  I certainly don't have those particular sticks, but Rick, Xena & I do take a walk through the woods every morning -- carrying walking sticks.

2.  When seated at a restaurant, immediately order some appetizers so you have something to eat (besides bread & butter) while perusing the menu.

I can't tell you what a great idea this is.  My favorite lunch buddy, Nancy, thinks this is pretty spiffy too.

3.  When dining out with friends, always split the check evenly.

The experience of eating out with women friends can often be spoiled by complicated "check math" at the end of the meal.  Splitting the check evenly, regardless of what anyone ate, eliminates this.  It may take some of your friends a while to get used to this practice ("But you had a Pepsi and I only drank water" ), but trust me, it all evens out in the end.  And who cares if it doesn't?

4.  Drink Vodka Gimlets.

For a long time, I followed this advice on a regular basis.  After a few years (like, 15) I realized I couldn't drink like I could when I was younger, so I switched to wine.  Now, I can barely drink a second glass of wine and still keep my eyes open.  I did my best dad.

5.  Spend money like a drunken sailor.

Well, not exactly, but there is a good story here.  A long time ago, my Uncle George told my Aunt Helen (dad's sister) to never take financial advice from her brother.  Why? Because he spends money like a drunken sailor.  Aunt Helen told me this story, which of course makes it a bit suspect, along with every other story Aunt Helen ever tells.  But that's a tale for another day.  Even if it isn't true, I can attest to the fact that my father was a good spender, even when he was young and didn't really have it to spend.  The real lesson here is to enjoy life, which he most certainly did.

6. Be honest.

When my parents were newlyweds, my mother's father owned a small independent grocery store in Queens.  My father used to work for him on weekends, as did one of my mother's cousins, who shall remain nameless.  One day, my dad caught said cousin stealing money from the cash register.  My father confronted him, but never told my grandfather of the incident.  He also never forgave Chester my mother's cousin.

Happy Father's Day!  I miss you dad.

1 comment:

Pricilla said...

Somehow our fathers impart somewhat more concrete advice than our mothers.