“Flush the toilet while you’re going, so others don’t hear it”
My father had a way with words. He wasn’t eloquent. He wasn’t flowery. He didn’t mince them. He was a plain talker who chose his words randomly, then delivered them firmly. Sometimes, they revealed his temper, but more often they reflected his wisdom. Many were gems that I still recall. Not sure if that’s a good thing but on the whole, I think, yes, it is.
While funny now, the bathroom message was a poignant commentary about life in a large family, living in tight quarters and being considerate of others. I never questioned him and followed his direction by emptying accordingly. Today, I chuckle about it ‘a few times a day’.
Like many men of his ilk, he didn’t subscribe to ‘there are no stupid questions’. He was ‘old school’, and would tell you if it was a stupid question. He was blunt sometimes. Yet, there was a side of him that espoused his ‘old school’ philosophy as a life lesson, to pass on to me and others.
“Walk on the outside when escorting a woman”
(Lesson: be a gentleman)
“Watch me, some day you’ll have your own house and can do this yourself”
(Lesson: be self reliant)
“Go to school. You want to be a painter the rest of your life, like me?”
(Lesson: education is a stepping stone to success)
“Don’t smoke, drink, go in debt or lie”
(Lesson: be healthy, physically and financially, and be an honest broker)
“Don’t fish in another man’s waters”
(Lesson: be respectful of others)
“Life is hard, don’t add extra baggage”
(Lesson: make good decisions)
Having a limited formal education didn’t handicap my dad, or prevent him from improving himself, and he always strove to do that, whether at work or play. He gave his best daily and expected the same from others, especially his children. He followed his own ‘rules’ and over the course of his life, became a better man to himself, his family and friends. This is his legacy, and it’s reflected in the words he spoke and how he spoke them, his ‘pearls of wisdom’.
Do you have one or more ‘pearls’ from your dad? What was the message, or lesson, in his words? I invite you to share them in the comments.
Dedicated to dads everywhere and their ‘words of wisdom’, their pearls.