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Things my father taught me

By Edward A. Forbes

The Bulletin

I sat in my kitchen, filling my pill packs with two weeks’ worth of medications and supplements I take daily, and I thought of the trivial things that remind me of growing older and that remind me of my father.

I have at least six sets of measuring spoons, but I have one set that I immediately seize when cooking. It is not the prettiest, nor is it better than any of the other sets. It is, however, my preferred set.

I think of how I get irritated by the youngest grandchildren spreading toys willy nilly over the house. I have learned to “hold my tongue.” They will pick up most of them, and I will eventually find the ones they missed. I have learned there is nothing accomplished by getting upset or irritated over something trivial. Thank you, Dad, for this. (Next time when I cook, perhaps I’ll use whichever set of measuring spoons I grab.)

I think about things my father did that I wish I had paid more attention to. He told me much later in my life that it was essential to save 10% of your income for retirement and to save another 10% as a contingency fund to pay for unexpected emergencies or repairs. I hope my progenies are practicing this practical preparation. Thank you, Dad.

My Dad was an excellent angler, and he loved to fish. When he retired, he fished most days, and I, fortunately, got to eat a lot of his catch. He took me fishing, and I couldn’t catch a cold, so I always took a book to read as he fished and caught his and my limit. We did visit, and he told me stories of the old days in Harris, Brazoria, and Matagorda counties. This, time with me was his gift. Thank you, Dad.

I have realized that you can’t force a habit or practical idea on anyone. You can only advise and reinforce that advice gently and often.

The best teachers I’ve had made the subject matter interesting or entertaining or part of an antidote that captured my attention and imagination. I have learned that, like any good teacher, you can only expose the student to knowledge. You can’t force-feed these things.

Thank you, Dad.

I never stopped to realize that many of my father’s habits were influenced by a depression-era childhood.

Frequently, persons my age have told me of older family members who lived very frugally and had substantial savings discovered only after their demise. People who grew up in demanding times knew to be prepared to increase their chance of survival. Thank you, Dad.

I have realized my Dad wasn’t perfect. I try to emulate his good qualities and improve on the bad ones.

I won’t try to impose my ideas of future goals or ambitions on my children. They must seek their own way and try to fulfill their dreams, not mine. My Dad couldn’t do this, but he taught me by his mistake. Thank you, Dad.

As Father’s Day approaches, I can only wish my Dad were here so I could tell him, “Thank you, Dad”, for all the lessons he taught me, including those errors from which I learned.

I send my compliments to all the Dads out there who are trying daily to provide a good example to their children.

And, oh yes, don’t forget that I love and miss you, Dad.

With love from your son, Eddie.

(Email Eddie at or send comments by snail mail to The Bulletin, PO Box 2426, Angleton TX. 77516.)


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