Sunday, June 18, 2017

Get a soda and Little Debbie cake on random Tuesday afternoons.

This editorial, shared by Caroline a couple of years after Dad passed, remains one of my favorite essays: "Write your father." I saved the link that Father's Day and often thought to myself in subsequent years, "Sit down and do that. It will be good for you." Last year on his birthday, some six years after his death, I finally felt ready. I'll spare you the details about my wacko, but loveable, herd of animals and the conversation with him about philosophical concepts of "place," and specifically Turner Farm, but I did want to share the closing of the letter. These are things I hope he knew I recognized and respected, but for which I didn't take the time to thank him. On this particular Sunday in June, I encourage you all to take the time. 

Thanks, CLT, for living a life worth living.
You reminded me that sometimes things really are this simple…
Do something. Make a decision. Show up. Change what you don’t like. Just live your life. Don’t feel sorry for yourself. Learn to let go of needing explanations; knowing will likely change nothing.  Don’t coerce someone into accepting or loving you.  Know what you believe and be able to explain why.  Don’t force your views on someone else, but don’t stand idle in the face of ignorance or mean-spiritedness. Don’t look for a fight, but don’t be scared of one.  Don’t seek attention, but don’t be lazy.  Don’t be afraid to cuss sometimes. Let your animals ride in the car; clean trucks are overrated. As long as you have a vest on and your ears covered, you’ll probably be alright.  A fire and a crockpot of soup make working in the cold seem worthwhile.  Conservative pundits are ridiculous…but so are out-of-touch hipster liberals.  Work hard every minute that you’re up. Know when to bite your tongue with your parents. Cowboy boots go with everything. Vacations will be rare so try to really be present when you’re on them. Take kids (whether yours or someone else’s) fishing and to country stores and let them steer when coming up the driveway.  All day breakfast places are always a good choice. Keep books and magazines handy.  Tell stories.  Don’t go for the obvious joke.  Kick somebody in the ass if they need it.  Give someone money if they need it, but try first to give them a job.  Don’t overuse “I love you” or hugs.  Wear flannel. Make Christmas presents or go to Grider Antiques on Dec. 23 and look for cookie jars.  Be able to ad lib presentations at school or work, coming across as professional, but down-to-earth. Eat dessert.  Get a soda and Little Debbie oatmeal cake on random Tuesday afternoons. Spend Friday nights with your family at Shoney’s and Wal-Mart. Spank your kids if they’ve earned it (and they will earn it). Make sure they know how to drive a straight shift.  If you want something, make it happen. Create opportunities for yourself. Don’t rely on someone else for your own happiness…but be grateful for those who want to share their life with you; be proud to be theirs, they, yours. Swallow pride and occasionally do what you have to do in order to do what you love. Have the courage to be who you really are.  Live a life worth living. 


  1. great letter. Your Dad was a great man, and what a legacy he left behind.

  2. Such a pleasure to read. It warmed my heart. Love you.