By CHARLENE PAUL
Dads and summer go together like fish and chips, biscuits and gravy, sunshine and southern Nevada. For all he does, Dad gets one day a year to be recognized with homemade cards, ties only he could love, and lots of hugs and kisses.
Dads are synonymous with backyard barbecues, boating on Lake Mead, camping under the stars, fishing, hiking trails, shooting off fireworks, and swimming in the reservoir, when summer brings warm, sunny days, hot August nights, and lots of time for outdoor activities. Without summer, spring would flow straight into fall with no time for outings, summer vacations, and a rest from school. The world would be a much more somber place without summer. And the world would be a lot darker without dads.
I have a pretty wonderful dad who spent a lot of time with me in the summer imparting nuggets of wisdom to help me become a productive member of society. I wish I had written them all down so I could pull out that little notebook in times of darkness and despair. But being a kid when most of his wisdom was shared, I more often than not, rolled my eyes and thought he was just a bit of an old fogey.
Today, however, I would like to share some of the nuggets I remember.
• “If you wear tennis shoes when you ride horses, your foot could slip through the stirrup and you’d get dragged to death.” I even made my husband and kids wear boots when they rode horses.
•“Don’t name the steer that’s going to be next year’s meat.” Poor Sirloin. So trusting. He never knew what hit him.
•“Don’t walk barefoot through the freshly cut alfalfa field.” Bare feet are no match for an alfalfa field, freshly cut or otherwise.
•“Never kick a horse on the way back to the corral.” If I had taken that advice, my sister wouldn’t have gotten thrown into the hitching post and I wouldn’t have gone through the gate in front of my boyfriend.
•The ‘talk’ before my first date: “Boys are basically nasty.” He had once been a boy, who was I to argue?
•“Nothing bothers a boy more than to know he disappointed his mom.” I didn’t believe it until I had sons of my own.
Car Care and Maintenance:
•“You have to learn to change a tire.” Seriously Dad, we couldn’t have done this a week before my first date?
•“Make sure to check the oil in your car before you go anywhere.” Good advice for everybody.
•“Run the car on the top of the tank; don’t ever let ‘er get below half-full.” Something I have yet to convince my husband is a good idea.
•“If you’re going to eat like I pig, I’ll build you a trough.” I did and he did.
Being a Girl:
•“You need to learn to act like a lady.” Dad felt the need to remind me that spitting, swearing, and fighting had their places, but learning to be a lady was also important.
• After learning I had blacked my younger brother’s eye because he referred to me as a female dog: “If he says it again, black ‘em both!” The only time I ever had permission to smack my brother, and he never said it again – at least not that I could hear.
•“No matter how hard you try, you can never be a dad.” He was right; I ended up being a mom.
•“Kids are different. Some just need a stern look. Some need a swift kick in the rear end.” Which kid was I? Let’s just say I don’t remember any stern looks.
•After he caught me smoking: “Raising cows is a lot like raising kids.” I wasn’t sure exactly why we talked about cows, but by the end of the ride, I was pretty sure I would never smoke again.
•“Do you want a spanking?” I never told him, but I always thought that was a pretty dumb question.
•When my first child graduated from high school and left home: “Don’t cry because he’s leaving. They always come home, and most of the time they’ve multiplied. That’s when you cry!” Oh, how right he was.
•As a teenage girl: “If a boy touches your fanny, belt him in the nose.” Belted more than one.
•“Be proud of who you are and never disrespect your name.” Just plain good advice.
•“A one-holed outhouse was common. A two-holed outhouse meant you were pretty well off. A three-holed outhouse meant you were a cut above.” Dad’s family had a three-holer. I believe I come from royalty.
•“I’m proud of you, Sis.” That’s all I ever wanted to hear.
If you haven’t already done so, why not take a little time to jot down some of your dad’s nuggets of wisdom? All you need is an inexpensive notebook, a pen, a warm summer day and a little time.
Yes, dads and summer go together like waffles and syrup, kids and dogs, sunshine and southern Nevada.
Instead of one more tie this Father’s Day, how about smothering him with hugs and kisses and then taking him on a summer outing and listening to what he has to say?
Grab your notebook and pen and keep on writing. It will bring a smile to your face, help your dad know how much you value his wisdom, and entertain your kids. Heck, they might even understand a little better why you are the way you are.
Charlene Paul and her husband Ken raised their family in Moapa Valley. She loves reading, writing, baking, crochet, and talking. She is the owner of Look on the WRITE Side, a freelance writing and proofreading company and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.