Sunday, June 20, 2010
10 Things My Dad Taught Me
1. Serve black olives at family functions. I found out over Thanksgiving one year that my dad felt that black olives was THE traditional part of our family meals. Most of us don't really care for black olives all that much, but he certainly did.
2. It's okay to cry at movies. And, tv shows. Sporting Events. Commercials. Greeting Cards. Good literature. Dad was very in touch with his tear ducts. I can remember watching "Terms of Endearment" with him, and neither of us could make it through the scene where Shirley MacLaine is begging the nurses to give Debra Winger the pain meds. He was a softie.
3. The Godfather is the best movie of all time. I still watch it any time it's on TV.
4. Eating peanuts takes a certain skill. The man liked to toss his peanuts in his hand, throw them in the air, and then enjoy. This move actually mimics the Dick Jamieson dance move; clap the hand and pull back arm. Turn, and repeat.
5. Steak must be cooked to rare only. No matter how I asked for my steak, if Dad was cooking, then your steak was rare. To this day, I feel guilty if I order it medium. It's like I can hear him "tsk tsk-ing" me.
6. When eating sliced tomatoes, be sure to apply plenty of ground pepper. Our favorite summer meals always included sliced maters, corn on the cob, and he would throw in some sliced onion to the mix. The pepper he applied was amazing. I also loved how he would eat the corn so passionately that the kernels would fly up and catch in his eyebrows.
7. Read. Read. Read. Dad had his masters in English. He taught English when he was a high school football coach. Granted, most of his career was focused on football, but he loved the written word. He read the newspaper from start to finish. He read books all the time. He would sit in his chair, cross his legs, chew his lip and read. I think this had to be his means of escaping the pressures in his world.
8. Broadway Musicals are cool. Our favorite show: Les Miserables
9. Humility. My dad was kind of a big deal in his younger days. He played baseball, football and was drafted into the majors for both sports. My mom kept a scrapbook with his clippings. He had his own football cards. Yet, he never spoke of this to us. We just figured everyone's family had football cards in their coffee table drawer; that was the norm. We didn't realize what a big deal he was. He was humble and that was part of his past.
10. People are all the same on the inside. The most important thing my dad taught me is to NOT notice a person's skin color. Or gender. Or size. Or shape. He welcomed all people into our world and into our home. He shaped all of us in such a manner that we never thought about it. I think we were all shocked by a world of racism and prejudice, because we had never even thought about it. Of all the things my dad taught me and gave me, I value this the most.
Sooooooo, I'm going to honor my dad today with some peppery tomatoes and hope I catch "The Godfather" somewhere on the tube. Thanks for everything Dad. I miss you more than I can say.