Is it bad that I don't know if my dad had a good Father's Day or not? I haven't talked to him today.
He and mom were down the road apiece this weekend, at the big antique show in Bloomington, IL. There's a slight link there to my Father's Day present, but more about that later. Instead, we took the kids out to lunch and decided on the spur of the moment to go see my grandparents. They played with the boys and the baby for hours and a good time was had by all. I went on call at 6:00 p.m., but so far nobody has had the bad manners to call for an ambulance.
I learned a lot from my dad over the years, but when you're young, you don't really know what learning is. You don't see it happening until you can look back at it. Dad taught me some important stuff, mostly by example. This was necessary because I never listened to a word he said. What did I learn?
1. Nothing is so bad you can't laugh, shake your head, and go back in and finish. When you've got the engine out of the car, it's almost ready to drop into the next one, and you realize the dipstick's on the wrong side, you can either curse and yell and wait a few weeks for the right oil pan, or you can laugh, shake your head, and get to work fabricating the part you need. The job isn't going to go away, so get it done.
2. A deal is a deal. This includes deals that turn out not to be something for nothing, deals that turn out to benefit the other guy more than you, and deals that turn out to have been bad ideas (note the plural.)
3. If you get shrill, you lose--and people are glad you lost.
4. When opportunity presents itself, grab it. If you're scared, you're probably on the right track.
5. Mind your own business and 90% of life's problems melt away like magic.
6. If you're a Fixer . . . . a guy who can Make Things Work . . . . there will always be a place for you somewhere no matter how much technology, society, or education change. Somebody's got to make the world go around so the eggheads have a place to theorize.
7. Don't be afraid to sit quietly with someone you love and just be near him. Comfortable silence is underrated. Awkward small talk is highly overrated.
8. You can get away with just about anything if you know how to smile with your eyes.
9. Nobody promised you a fair shake. You aren't going to get one by whining.
10. Find a good woman and make sure more than once before you marry her--and once you're married, it's your job to make sure she has a good life. No excuses, no whining. Stand by her, love her, respect her. Be a husband.
This one's important.
He's a hell of a dad, and what I said here is just the brief highlights. Happy Father's Day, dad. We'll get your present to you tomorrow. I'll give you all a hint tonight: Mermaids and Guns, two of dad's favorite things.
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