Thursday, November 18, 2010


Scallywag. It was a word my dad often used to gently reprimand us if we were "acting up." My dad was known by friends and family as a character. He told the best stories and made people laugh. If he were alive today it would be his 90th birthday. Happy Birthday, Dad! I'm grateful to have grown up under the tutelage of a man of industry, integrity, and humor. To honor him on his special day, I'm going to share some of his wisdom.

One: Don't be a Scallywag. I never really knew what that was, but it sounded like something to do with pirates. I'd read Treasure Island, and I didn't want my name associated with those rough and one-legged ruffians.

Two: He taught us (me and my sisters) not to be "full of bologna." This meant that on those occasions when we wanted to fib, or expand a personal story into the realms of fantasy, we were to remember not to be full of false meat. It was a disgusting image and therefore a powerful deterrent.

Three: He'd remind us not to "toot our own horns." This one had to do with overt pride and excessive bragging. For some reason, this bit of wisdom always comes to my mind on New Year's Eve when I'm tooting away on one of those little party horns. It really isn't a pleasant sound.

Four: We knew we'd pushed the child/parent argument to the limit when his bass voice would rumble that we "didn't have a leg to stand on." I'd stop arguing immediately, but wonder how I could still be standing if I didn't have a leg to stand on.

The list of platitudes could go on and on, but I've got a busy day: grocery shopping, laundry, researching for my next book, and ten other things...

Dad would say, "Stop burning the candle at both ends!" or, "Slow down and count your blessings." Good counsel.

A week from today is Thanksgiving, and surely my wise and funny dad will be high on my gratitude list.

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