It’s a sad Father’s Day for me, because it is the first one without my father and my father-in-law. Instead of talking about my usual two favorite topics, your health and your time, I want to honor these two men who gave life to me and my husband, and spent their lives raising the two of us. My dad was a choir director who was the bravest and most life-affirming man I will ever meet. He loved to give advice (a trait I have inherited) and most of it was actually good. He loved to argue. He was a good liv-er with a bad liver. He was responsible for my becoming a doctor. I had thought about law school, because it sort of looked cool, and medicine in a small town didn’t strike my ignorant teenaged heart as very exciting. “Do medicine,” he said. “You’ve never won an argument in your life.” As I had also just lost that argument, I declared my major and went into pre-med.
From Dad, I learned: Every day is gift from God. Don’t squander a single one, even when you’re miserable. Even when you’re sick. Even when it’s your last one.
Marry someone who can actually put up with you for 50 years.
You don’t have to be the nicest or most tactful person to be deeply loved. Thank God.
Your family really is the most important thing you will ever have. Cherish them, and teach them to cherish each other.
Throw yourself into your life and work with a passion.
You can have a tremendous effect on the world even when your own world is small. Do it by doing all that you can with what you’ve got for whoever is in front of you.
My father-in-law was a crusty southern lawyer (he won lots of arguments) and a devout Irish Catholic. He went to church every day, initially because it was a quiet place where nobody would bug him. Eventually it became much more. He loved Irish setters, Irish whiskey, Irish beer,Fighting Irish and married a woman born on St. Patrick’s Day. He also loved John Paul II, John Wayne, and John F. Kennedy.
From him I learned:
Never try to do business on Monday morning or Friday afternoon.
Every family needs a dog.
Never admit to losing an argument, even when you’ve lost the argument.
Lose the evidence.
Your dog will love you even when everyone else is getting annoyed.
Grandkids are the reward for putting up with aging.
People may gossip in the short term, but in the end, all they’ll remember is the good you did for them.
Cocktail parties are only good for two cocktails. Then it’s time to leave.
If you don’t like the answer, keep asking the question until you get an answer you like.
Early to bed and early to rise is overrated.
Bring a flask “this has helped us so many times.”
There are few bureaucratic problems that $100 can’t fix.
These men weren’t politically correct. They were of their time and unapologetic about it. But in this time, when so many young men seem so lost, so unsure of their role in life, these two men were an example to us all of how to find that role. They liked what they liked, loved who they loved, and did what they thought was right as best as they could. We couldn’t have asked for a better legacy from them.
Dads, we all miss you.