When I was 15 years old I had two boys over to my house to watch a movie. Totally innocent, for the record. My parents, with total trust, let us watch it down in the basement, unsupervised, the boys just had to be out by 10p. Sounds totally reasonable to my 35 year old self but 20 years ago I remember it seeming such an early and unfair time. When 10p rolled around on that hot summer night, our movie was over, but no one was ready to go home. I decided that since my parents were asleep (or so I thought) the boys could stay a little later and no one would know. But that’s not exactly how things went down. At 10:03 my dad (who is 6’5 and weighs a good 250 lb) came down the stairs in nothing but a t-shirt and tighty whities. If that weren’t scary enough, he was carrying his shotgun. No lie. He very calmly sat down on the couch and told us that since he couldn’t sleep he might as well clean his gun. You know, since it’s something he’d been wanting to do for a while and hadn’t gotten around to it. Did we mind if he joined us? The boys left at 10:05.
When my dad isn’t being a tough guy, he’s really just a giant teddy bear. Thank you, dad, for loving me but more importantly, teaching me how to love myself. For setting the bar when it comes to being the worlds best grandpa. For all the tough love over the years. For all the advice I didn’t want to hear. For those incredibly wide shoulders- they sure can hold a lot of bricks. You’ve taught me so many things in my life, it was hard for me to pick my top ten. So I didn’t, I picked 11.
11 Things My Dad Taught Me:
- Watermelon is better salted. So are tomatoes. And radishes.
- Respect yourself. Or no one else will.
- It’s never too late to say you’re sorry.
- Rocking out to Hall n Oats, The Doobie Brothers and Fleetwood Mac make the ultimate road trip soundtrack.
- Being late is disrespectful. Be on time. Or better yet, 5 minutes early.
- Finish what you start.
- Work hard.
- Love harder.
- Potato Chips and a cold glass of milk are the perfect afternoon snack.
- One day at a time.
- Cleaning your gun wearing only a t-shirt and briefs is a sure way to stop your daughter from dating.