A father's day toast

My father taught me many things. Some on purpose. Some on accident.
How to tie a tie. How to tie a cleat hitch. How to put away a dozen raw oysters. And that you should only eat them in months that have r in them. That black dress socks pulled up to the knee with white slip on Keds is not a good look for anyone. Bellies and bald heads sun burn first. That change adds up. That nothing is free. That life is anything but fair. That Bs aren’t good enough. How to order a beer in at least a half dozen languages. The way to Eldorado. (gaily bedight this gallant knight in sunshine and in shadow.) How to pour a drink. How to throw a cowpatty. (yes, you read that correctly). How to drive a boat. How to properly taste wine, although it involves something called clucking, and I think looks ridiculous. And should never be tried with whiskey. To tip well. To never run out of gas. To play a mean game of ping pong. That strawberries stain. That you get what you pay for. To let your meat rest. When you play poker to be prepared to lose. Real money. That there is always room for dessert. To two step and jitterbug. (well, techinically, I learned this is cotillion class – but my parents did a much better job in the living room) A few choice words. That people can always tell when you do something half ass. To have good insurance, and a decent retirement, and some emergency cash in your wallet. (in case you need to call a cab, or a wrecker or in my case purchase your first tattoo). The difference between port and starboard. The difference between port and merlot. The name of at last a dozen different cheeses. To appreciate new kinds of food, new people and new places. That a 16 year old doesn't need a new car or name brand jeans. (it is probably true at 34 too). Quality is always better than quantity. To bait my own hook. To make friends with important people: like the guy at the gas station, someone at the bank and anyone who can cook. To sing loudly. Even if you are off key. How to get out a decent wine stain. How to properly pull a weed. To shoot a gun. To tell a joke. Especially, slightly off color ones.

He has tried unsuccessfully to teach me how to do the following: Balance a checkbook. Drive. And pick up the living room or keep my car clean. But I assure you it wasn't for lack of trying.

Over the years my dad has had a myriad of hobbies and interests: sailing, gardening, country and western dancing, golf, photography, Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders, Patsy Cline, tobacco and Robert E Lee. But there have been two constant topics of interest: as long as I can remember. Food. And family. And to me they go together. When I go home it isn’t what do you want to do, but what do you want to eat? And we always eat well. We have seconds. And occasionally thirds and the glasses keep getting refilled. On some occasions before a big family meal he prays first. And it is a long rambly mini sermon. But sometimes he sticks to his traditional toast. I’m not even sure exactly what it means except that it is always fitting. And even though it is no longer my name, I know that it is for me too. And so today I’m using it for Father’s Day too.
"Up the Wallis"


0 comments: