Lessons Learned from Dad #MondayMusings #Inspiration

A photo of Abbie smiling in front of a white background. Her brown hair is cut short and frames her face. She is wearing a bright red shirt and a dark, flowy scarf swirled with hues of purple, pinks and blues.Today, my father would have been in his mid 80s. I’ve revised and am sharing a post that went live two months before he passed in 2013. Enjoy!

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My fondest childhood memories are of Dad and me listening to music together. He 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 he 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 after my husband Bill passed. 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 same position. I didn’t need that extra thousand dollars, and he needed the van. you can read more about our adventures with the van in My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds.

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.” Rest in peace, Dad.

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What lessons have you learned from your father? Please feel free to share in the comment field below.

 

New! Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me

Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.

Independently published with the help of DLD Books.

The cover of the book features an older woman sitting in a wicker chair facing a window. The world beyond the window is bright, and several plants are visible on the terrace. Behind the woman’s chair is another plant, with a tall stalk and wide rounded leaves. The woman has short, white hair, glasses, a red sweater, and tan pants. The border of the picture is a taupe color and reads "Why Grandma Doesn't Know Me" above the photo and "Abbie Johnson Taylor" below it.

Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.

After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.

Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.

Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?

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Dad, Fats, and Me #Poetry #Music

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.Here’s a poem I wrote several years ago about something my father and I loved doing together. It was published in Magnets and Ladders. You can click on the title to hear me read it. Below the poem is a video of the song mentioned in the poem. Happy Father’s Day to all you dads out there.

Dad, Fats, and Me

As the piano’s base notes
imitate baby elephant patter,
I stomp my six-year-old feet in time,
while sitting on the couch
across from Dad, sprawled in his easy chair,
his nose in a book.
He looks up, chuckles.

As Fats Waller sings no praises
to a woman’s over-sized feet,
I stand, stomp around the den.
Dad sings along–I giggle.

As the song crescendos
with blaring saxophone and trumpet,
I lift my feet,
bring them to the floor with purpose.

The record has other songs:
“The Joint is Jumpin’,” “Seafood, Mama,”
but my little feet always stomp in time
whenever I hear Fats say, “Your Feet’s Too Big.”

 

Fats Waller–Your Feet’s Too Big

 

My Books

 

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

How to Build a better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

We Shall Overcome

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Monday Musical Memory: Oh My Papa

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.My father was a bear at times. He laid a hand to my hind quarters when I did something wrong. When my younger brother was suspended from high school for mooning out of a bus, he yelled, “When I see you, you’d better have a book in your hand. If you want to do something useful, chop wood.” He often got into shouting matches with my mother, especially when he was drunk.

Life with Dad wasn’t all bad, though. I spent many happy hours with him listening to jazz. At the age of six, my favorite song was Fats Waller’s “Your Feet’s Too Big.” When my younger brother and I formed a band with me on piano and him on drums, Dad often played along on string bass. When my younger brother developed an interest in photography, Dad helped him turn our third-floor bathroom into a dark room.

My father wasn’t like the papa in this Eddie Fisher song, who could be funny and adorable and would take you on his knee and change your tears to laughter. Nevertheless, he was a good man, and I loved him and learned a lot from him. May he rest in peace. Click the link below to hear me sing the song.

 

Oh My Papa

 

How about you? What was your father like? What did you enjoy doing with him? How did he punish you when you were bad? Happy Father’s Day in advance.

 

My Books

 

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

How to Build a better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

We Shall Overcome

My Other Links

Visit my website.

Like me on Facebook.

 

Reblog: Lessons from Dad


Here’s an oldie but a goody from several yeras ago. Enjoy, and Happy Father’s Day.

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Lessons from Dad

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

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems
My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds
Like Me on Facebook.

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Lessons Learned from Dad Re-Visited

Note: I’m re-blogging this post from June 2013. Dad passed away two months after this went live. Enjoy, and happy Father’s Day.

***

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.

***

Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to hear an audio trailer.

Like me on Facebook.