My dad loved to explore.
He loved to explore so much that we got lost in the Red Light district in Amsterdam going the wrong way on a one way street one time. Never a dull moment. He did love to travel. He was a career officer in the military and served in Vietnam. We lived all over when I was growing up. We camped and hiked and skied on Fodor's $5 a day. We only stopped at diners if the parking lot was full of 18 wheelers. "Truckers know where the best food is." We TOOK OUR OWN lunch skiing so we could save time and eat on the chair lift. We didn't take up unnecessary room camping with sissy pillows. Roll up your clothes. Honestly, try it tonight. It feels just the same as a pillow. only different.
But seriously folks....
I learned so much from my dad.
Before I could own a car, I had to take auto shop in high school. Everyone should be able to gap a plug, change the oil and rotate tires. Right. Because that's my hobby now on Saturdays, dad.
I know how to pay bills first and play later. I know how to be honest and return lost wallets full of money. I know how to help out the people I love and the ones I don't.
I know how to be strong and make amends.
I know I'm named after my dad and it builds character to have a boy's name with the initials BJ in high school because 'you know who your REAL friends are'.
I know how to be nice to my kids' friends and run off the dead weight. Parents are such a good judge of character. Trust your instincts.
I know that ketchup is not allowed on steak.
I know that Marty Robbins sings pretty songs, El Paso is a fun place and hot sauce should be...well, hot.
I know that driving with the air conditioner on and the windows down is not a good idea. Because it wastes moneyyyyyyy, that's why.
I know how to find piñon nuts in a tree. I know what squirrel tastes like.
I know that Santa is real.
I know what a first down is thanks to many armchair afternoons spent next to my dad packed tight like a baby sardine in his recliner. I also know who the dumb bastards are.
I know you can't 'soar with the eagles if you're going to hoot with the owls'.
I know they won't buy the cow if the milk is free. I know. I know. I know. All my friends in high school know that, too. Since it was my dad's way of saying good bye on Friday nights when I had a Blazer full of girlfriends heading downtown to make the drag. Hearing my mother's voice fading in the summer nights...." For crying out loud, Bill, they aren't livestock..."
I know my dad doesn't enjoy digging holes or getting dirty but he made a flower bed for me at a house where my kids grew up.
I know he doesn't like scalloped potatoes but he ate them every year at my house for Christmas and told me they were 'super'. (I only learned this a couple years ago...he told me with a very shy and apologetic voice..."Jos, I'm sorry, but I really don't like scalloped potatoes) whaaaaat the what? Reeeealllyyy?
I know how to fight to live. I know how to be nice to caregivers and thank the nurses. One of the last things my dad said to anyone was when he asked his nurse if there was anything he could do to make her job easier. Yes, she cried.
I know pocket aces are pretty wonderful. I know you tip your dealer.
I know how to die with dignity. And grace. And a grateful, brave heart.