Lessons Learned from Dad

My fondest childhood memories are of Dad and me listening to music together. Dad loved to play the old standards on those scratchy long-playing records by such artists as Fats Waller and Nat King Cole. These songs taught me lessons that I’m pretty sure Dad wanted me to learn.

If “The Joint is Jumpin,” you’re going to get in trouble. No man will like you if “Your Feet’s Too Big.” You’d better “Straighten Up and Fly Right.” I also learned to appreciate “Seafood, Mama” but not until I was an adult.

Dad also tried to teach me the value of money. He thought he’d succeeded until I sold my wheelchair accessible van last month because Bill was gone, and I no longer needed it. George, who responded to my ad, asked if I could take a thousand dollars off the asking price because the switch on the back of the vehicle that automatically opened the doors to the lift didn’t work, and the lift needed to be re-sized to fit his electric wheelchair. Because he appeared to be in desperate need of this vehicle, I agreed. Dad was livid. He claimed that it wouldn’t have cost a thousand dollars to fix these problems, but what he didn’t understand was a lesson I didn’t learn from him.

Although money is important, being helped and passing on that good deed to another is more valuable. Several years ago, Bill and I really wanted a van we could use to go places at night and on weekends when the local paratransit service wasn’t running. We were lucky to find someone willing to sell us such a vehicle at a price we could afford. When George came to my home in response to my ad, I could tell right away he was in the position we were in several years ago. I didn’t really need that extra thousand dollars, and he needed the van.

I leave you now with another lesson I did learn from Dad via Louis Armstrong. Despite the hateful things going on around us, we live in a “Wonderful World.” To my dad and others reading this, I hope you have a special Father’s Day.

 

Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author of We Shall Overcome and How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

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4 thoughts on “Lessons Learned from Dad

  1. What a great way of paying it forward, Abbie.
    I learned a lot of life lessons about hard work and responsibility from my Dad, but he scared me off of power tools trying to teach me how to use the lathe!

    • Hi Susan, I’ve always been afraid of power tools because of all the noise they make. When you don’t see well, it’s probably better not to be around them, anyway. I’m sure Dad realized this so he didn’t try to teach me how to use them. However, one time when I was in elementary school, he used his radio arm saw to cut different shapes to help me with geometry. Thanks for your comment.

  2. I love this post, Abbie. You might have visual trouble in some ways, but you see better than most. I don’t have financial prosperity but I, too, look at more than the obvious. I barter my skills in writing for help with things I can’t do anymore. On Friday a young woman is helping me with some work at my house and in return, I will edit some writing for her and help her submit her stories. I’m sure you sleep better knowing that the thousand dollars you discounted the van made it possible for the fellow to have transportation he needs.

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