Stuff My Dad Said/Says (Father’s Day)

As an adolescent you tend to de value the wisdom of older folk. As the old story goes about fathers:

“When I was fourteen years old my father was so ignorant I could barely stand to be around him. When I turned twenty-one I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in just seven years.”

In honor of Father’s Day, I want to share some gems of wisdom from my father, Larry Daniels. This is the type of instruction you roll your teenage eyes at in the moment, and then years later look back and appreciate. The old man with red socks and a bald head maybe did know a thing or two:

Lazy folks always work the hardest.

As a naturally chubby lazy kid, this one was quoted ad nauseam to me. I took advantage of plenty of opportunities to prove its truth. In other words: Do it right the first time and you won’t have to redo it. I once remember pulling weeds out of our side ditches. Instead of hauling them off and throwing them in the backyard I threw them back down into the ditch near the drain. Clogged neighborhood drains usually aren’t up to code or satisfactory work for a dad. So naturally I had to go back down into the ditch, fish them out of the drain, and then haul them into the backyard anyways, all adding to my workload exponentially.

Boom: Lazy folks always work the hardest. Especially chubby punk kids with awkward bowl hair cuts.

Whatever you do, be the best you can be.

For this one, my usual sarcastic tongue in cheek response was: “I want to be a garbage truck man. You know, the one that rides on the back!”

My dad would respond without missing a beat: “Well, then be the best garbage truck man you can be!”

When I endeavored to play team sports, from T-Ball all the way up to HS football, dad’s common refrain was, “Don’t forget the three H’s: Hustle, Hustle, Hustle.” My best effort was always expected from me, and as current a father of two young sons I now expect the same from them.

It’ll make a turd

This is one of my favorites. My dad’s a barbecuing King. I’d match his hickory slow smoked ribs against anyone’s in the world. But in the circumstance we weren’t eating his perfectly smoked and seasoned dead animal, his common response was a shrug and:

“Well, it’ll make a turd”

This Big Mac may taste like a fart sandwich, but maybe we’ll get some nutritional value out of it at least.

Those three stand out, but there are plenty more nuggets of down home common sense I could share. The man is a virtual endless reservoir of American history and political knowledge. But I’ll stop there and say thanks pops for your consistent, strong, hardworking spirit. As the patriarch of our family, I appreciate everything you’ve done to lead and love us (especially those grandkids).

Bryan Daniels.

What are some gems from your father you would like to share?

Author: Bryan Daniels

I am a follower of Jesus, a husband to Jessica, and a father of three boys: Josiah, Gideon and Judah. I teach high school math as a job, read reformed theology as a hobby, and write this blog just for kicks. With the rest of my time I coach football and track.

11 thoughts on “Stuff My Dad Said/Says (Father’s Day)”

  1. One of the things I most remember my Dad saying was when he sent us on an errand, In English it translates as: Walk fast, don’t fall down, Come straight back.
    and then at bedtime he’d go off to be singing the refrain from Good night Irene. We asked my nephew to use it during the memorial service and he said, “And when Opa when to bed he always said “Goodnight Irene, even if your name wasn’t Irene.” It made us laugh, and taught us a lot about the cultural difference between generations….

  2. Dad and I were both in 12-step recovery programs at the same time. Him for alcohol, me for Alanon, families of alcoholics. His favorite thing to say to me when we’d have serious conversations about stuff was a one word admonition: “Think.” I have never forgotten it and I use it on myself now often.

      1. If you had known my dad you would really appreciate him saying that to me. We had an awesome, best-friend relationship the last few years he was alive.

  3. It’s not so much something he said as it’s something he does. For instance I had asked him at least four times if he thought a mellon was ready in my garden. He eventually jist told me to pick it. Of course he knew it wasn’t ripe, but he has always let me learn a few things on my own when I don’t listen. Also, years back he told me if I never did anything else, not to ever treat anyone like they were beneath me. I know that seems really basic, but it stuck with me and I appreciate him caring enough about people to teach that to me. My dad wasn’t the most religious per se, kinda like yours, but he did model several things to me that have helpes me immensly. First, understanding supreme authority. Second, understanding what it’s like to have a father in heaven who is able and willing to provide, teach and repremand. I hope the to be able to share that last part with him soon.

  4. Bryan,

    Thanks for the Father’s Day post. It brought to mind words some unforgettable words that my father said to me that inspired a poem called “The Perfect Father’s Day Gift.” I hope you like this:

    The Perfect Father’s Day Gift

    There was a time when I would stretch my mind,
    Make a list and try to think of the perfect gift,
    As we approached Father’s Day, the third Sunday in June.
    Now let me see what will it be?
    I know. . . a portable radio. . .
    What about a shirt—extra large—to fit?
    Pajamas, house shoes, another Dopp kit?
    Each year I would really try, as I resolved:
    No more cologne—not another tie!
    One year I ran out of ideas, and so I asked,
    “Dad, what do you want for Father’s Day?”
    He thought awhile and in his own quiet way,
    He smiled and had this to say:
    “Just between me and you,
    Here’s what you can do.
    Just keep me proud of you.
    Son, just keep me proud of you.”

    Now when my daughters ask,
    What can they get me for Father’s Day,
    I fondly remember, and I smile and say,
    “The words of your Grandpa are still true.
    As he said to me, so I say to you:
    ‘Just between me and you,
    Here’s what you can do.
    Just keep me proud of you.
    Girls, just keep me proud of you.”

    Lonnell E. Johnson
    Father’s Day
    June 15, 2003

  5. “It’ll make a turd” ~ I haven’t heard that since I was a kid…my grandfather used to say that! I laughed quite a while on that one.

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