50 Things My Dad Has Taught Me

Happy Father’s Day, Dad. Thank you for dropping so much knowledge on me. I am a lucky girl.

1. How to Properly Road Trip

It’s important to take turns leading the pack that you inevitably team up with on the highway during a long road trip. Generally, you’re all looking to go about 10 over the speed limit – but the car in front is putting himself in the most dangerous position if a cop is waiting on the other side of that hill. Car number 1’s brake lights sends a message to the rest of the group. For a moment in time, you are family. So take turns being the risk taker, it’s the right thing to do. And also, when you or someone else exits, make sure you wave goodbye to them since you will probably never see them again in your life.

2. Have Good Work Ethic

It doesn’t matter if it’s your baby sitting job or your job running your own company – always do the job you were hired to do, and do it well. Be reliable and be eager so you can go home at night feeling alright about yourself. Good work ethic also makes it easier to stay employed.

3. Don’t Forget to Get Your Oil Changed

I swear if my dad didn’t continually remind me that cars need to have their oil changed, and if he didn’t continually ask me if I’ve changed the oil in my car, I would have broken a lot of cars by now. I guess girls just don’t think of stuff like that.

4. When You Can, Aerate Your Wine

Not because it releases the aromas or whatever, but because it makes a cool sound and it’s kinda fun to do.

 5. Always Ask Someone to be Your Valentine

Since I can remember, on Feb 14, my dad will ask me this serious question: “Will you be my Valentine?” He never assumes I already am just because I was the year before – nope – he always asks politely. It’s really respectful and really sweet. It didn’t occur to me that it’s actually a bit inappropriate until I was way older, but regardless, I sure like knowing I’m never not someone’s Valentine on this day. And that I was asked.

6. If You Can’t Afford to Go On Vacation, Don’t Go on Vacation

Work harder, save more, do what you have to do to get yourself in a place where you don’t have to think about the money during the trip. There’s simply nothing worse than a half-assed vacation. If you want the lobster, get the lobster. Because, you know, you’re on vacation, remember?

7. Get a College Degree

Not because it helps you get you a job (it doesn’t), but because the things you learn while going to college are way more useful than the actual college itself. Plus, it will feel good to finish something you started.

8. Cook Dinner with a Single Pan

The more dishes you use to cook the meal, the longer it takes to clean up the kitchen. So get creative with it… my dad makes an excellent ground beef / onion / tomato / corn / tobassco / cheese thing. I’ll try to get him to write down the recipe for you. It doesn’t taste that great, but the clean up is delightful!

9. If You Don’t Like What’s Happening in the Room, Leave it

It sounds almost too simple, but that’s what makes it genius. If you don’t like what someone is saying, just leave the room so you don’t have to hear them saying it. It works 100% of the time.

10. How to Change a Tire

How awesome is my dad that when I got my first car, he made me change all four tires on it in front of him before he’d let me drive off? “No daughter of mine is gonna get herself stuck in a bad situation she can’t get herself out of because she can’t change a damn tire.” (I haven’t changed a tire since that day, I always just get a dude to do it for me. But it’s nice that I kinda know what they’re doing while I watch.)

11. Sleep in Soft T-Shirts

They’re super comfortable. Also on Saturdays, just keep it on all day and nobody will know you never changed out of your PJs.

12. Onion Rings > French Fries

Less guilt on the carb front. Super tasty. And not as filling as fries so you can fit more in your belly.

13. Read

It’s a great way to start the day and it keeps your mind sharp.

14. John Wayne is the Man

I was pretty much raised to believe this was an indisputable fact, and I see no reason to stop believeing it now.

15. Sleeping on the Floor is Awesome

It’s a nice change for your back, and the floor is nice and cool when it’s hot as hell outside.

16. Wave to Cops on the Road

People hate cops and they rarely get a friendly wave. It’s just a nice thing to do, and it really makes them smile. You can do a salute at them too every once in a while, just to change it up.

17. When You Find Pants that Fit You, Stop Looking For Pants that Fit You

My dad wears Wrangler jeans, and he has about 50 of them. He never has to stress about buying pants! When he needs new pants, my mom simply drives to Costco and buys him more. No stress.

18. Don’t Be Afraid to Watch Your Favorite Movies a Gazillion Times

I’ve seen Titanic, Grease, and Airborne more times than anyone on earth. I enjoy knowing every line and I enjoy watching them over and over again. My dad taught me this is nothing to be ashamed of… you should ask him how many times he’s seen The Searchers. (Yes, it’s a John Wayne film. That guy’s the man.)

19. Don’t Sub the Sides, Trade the Sides

This is how he orders at a restaurant: “I’ll have the chicken…. but I was wondering, how would you feel about me trading you these mashed potatoes that come with it, for like… some green beans or something?” The man has figured out a way to be one of those annoying diners who switches the menu around – only he does it in the most endearing way, so nobody ever seems to mind.

20. Little Things are Just as Important as Big Things

My dad wakes my mom up with coffee every morning. She’s super spoiled as a result, but it’s an adorable little routine they have. I think it has something significant to do with how they’ve stayed so happily married.

21. How to Drive a Stick Shift

Same thing like with the tire changing.No daughter of mine is gonna get herself stuck in a bad situation she can’t get herself out of because she can’t drive a damn stick shift.” He took the time to teach me, and risked his clutch in the process. Now that’s love.

22. Blue Bell Ice Cream

Once you learn it is the best, all other brands of ice cream taste like disappointment.

23. Wake up Early

It might be the only quiet time you get all day, which can be more important than sleep. Plus you can take a nap later on if you’re still tired. Which brings me to,

24. If You Need a Nap, Put on the Golf Tournament

That soothing commentary will knock you into a peaceful dream world like no other. Sleeping on the floor while a golf tournament plays low on the tv… that’s basically the Boars Head of naps.

25. Don’t Know What to Make for Dinner? Fry the World

My mom went back to school when we were kids, so Dad would have to make dinners for us some nights. He didn’t really know how to cook, but he knew how to fry. So he’d get the oil temperature perfect, then have my brother and I look in the fridge and pull out whatever we saw. “Dad, can we fry this apple?” “We can sure as hell try! Toss it over here darlin, we’re fryin’ the world tonight!”

26. You Don’t Have to Discuss Politics with Everyone

We don’t agree. We’ll never agree. No need to beat a dead horse… let’s talk about something else.

27. Snore if You Want

My dad saws logs in his sleep. Growing up, I just assumed all dads snored like that. It’s annoying for my mom but I like how he unapologetically snores. He can’t control it about himself – so he owns it. LIKE A BOSS.

28. Keep a Gallon of Water in Your Car

You know when you’re stuck in traffic and you’re thirsty, but you don’t have any water? If you had that gallon jug of water in the back seat like my pops has, you wouldn’t have a problem. Also extremely useful for washing hands, cleaning the windshield… there are endless circumstances when this gallon will come in handy. You’ll see.

29. Instead of One Entrée, Order a Couple of Appetizers

You get to try more foods on the menu this way. Genius.

30. Don’t Spend All Your Money

You can’t predict the future, all you can do is prepare for it. Don’t live beyond your means, it ends up taking your freedom away in the end.

31. Eat Breakfast with the Ones You Love

When I was in elementary school, about once a month my dad would wake me up early and take me to Village Inn for breakfast before school. We’d sit and talk just the two of us over a light 3,600 calorie breakfast. I always loved getting to start my day with a happy breakfast like that.

32. When You Buy a Car, Drive it Until it Dies

Cars cost money, and they cost you more if you change what you drive every few years. So buy something you can afford, then drive it into the ground. I think my dad’s last truck had so many miles on it that the speedometer flipped back to zero and started over.

33. Always Have Tabasco Sauce on Hand

It’s good on everything.

34. If You Want to Get off the Phone, Hand it to the Person Next to You.

This trick works great when your significant other is standing next to you. You tell the person it was great talking for a minute, but you’re handing the phone over to ___(name)___ so they can say hi. Wa-la!

35. Keep Your Vodka in the Freezer

It really is better chilled like that. He suggests Kettle One Citreon.

36. Be Kind to Every Person You Work with

He taught me to respect everyone, at all levels. My dad has a small company in Texas with a few employees. One year, someone who worked for him gave him a nice workers jacket as a thanks for being such a nice boss. I tell you this because I’ve worked for plenty of people I would never ever want to buy a jacket for. It’s just better to be kind (and you might get a free jacket out of it, which is cool!)

37. Life is Easier When You Accept that Mom’s the Boss

I fought this for more years than I’d like to admit, but eventually I too grew tired. Dad taught me that family life is just better when you decide mom gets to drive the ship.

38. Bacon is Better with Brown Sugar

Just toss a tiny bit in the pan right before it’s done, and then send my dad a thank you card after you taste it.

39. Say ‘Yes Sir’ and ‘Yes Ma’am’

I know this is sort of a Texas thing, but he taught me this at a young age. It doesn’t matter how old you are or how old the other person is – when you refer to them as ‘sir’ and ‘ma’am’, you are giving them respect. And everyone deserves respect.

40. Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure is a Most Excellent Film

We saw this together when I was little, and it became a family favorite. Also, Three Amigos and any Griswald movie. He never gets tired of quoting them and I never get tired of hearing it.

41. Put Salt on your Watermelon

Might be a Texas thing, but he taught me this as a kid and I’ve never looked back. Try it.

42. If You Can, Be Your Own Boss

Obviously, we’re not all in a position where we can make this happen. But I’ve seen my dad work hard for himself, and work hard for others… and I know which one makes him happier. One day I hope I get to own my own company as well – imagine all the free jackets!

43.  If You Can’t Remember a Name, Shake Their Hand and Say “Hey! What Do Ya Say, Bud?”

It’s so overly friendly that the person would never dream you don’t remember their name. (I should note that he’s never taught me this specifically, I’ve just noticed that he does it and it totally works. I’m onto you, Dad.)

44. Stick to the Plan

My dad loves to come up with a plan, and then execute that plan. I’m not that way, and it drives him mad. But alas, he still tries to teach this to me. I don’t even know what it means! What plan? Stick to WHAT plan?!

45. It’s Okay if You Don’t Know Who Halle Berry Is

We all spend so much energy on pop culture, it can be exhausting. But once when we were playing Cranium, my dad said he didn’t know how to draw the word on the card because “he had never tried one before.” He said, “I’ve had a blueberry and a raspberry, but I’ve never even heard of this type of berry.” I looked at the card and… You know what? My dad’s life is going just fine even though he doesn’t know who the hell Halle Berry is.

46. Don’t Order a Milkshake when You can Order a Malt

Malts are better. You can also buy malt at the grocery store and sprinkle it on Blue Bell ice cream.

47. Take Care of Your Family

I wish every grandparent was as lucky as mine are. The way my dad cares for them is incredibly admirable. When it comes to family, move mountains if you have to. Nothing matters more.

48. While the Pasta Boils, Use the Steam to Reshape Your Felt Cowboy Hat

It’s a great way to multi task. I personally don’t own a cowboy hat but if you do, I’ve seen this method work very well.

49. When You Add a Piece to a Puzzle, Tap on it a Few Times so the Room Knows About it

Completing a puzzle feels very rewarding, but you can get hundreds of mini rewarding feelings if you announce to everyone every single time you fit another piece.

50. Always Keep Something Close to You That Reminds You of Your Dad

My dad wears a St Christopher necklace that his dad gave him over thirty years ago, every single day. It’s a constant reminder of his dad’s memory, and probably a constant reminder of way more than the 50 things his dad taught him. I owe my grandpa big for raising a good man, and a great dad.

Thank you for all you’re teaching me, Dad. Happy Father’s Day.


5 responses to “50 Things My Dad Has Taught Me

  1. This post put a huge smile on my face and made me realize so much why I think that you are one of the greatest friends that I have. You truly are an amazing woman and I am honored to have you in my life. I sure know that your mom and dad feel the same way!

  2. Sara, this brought me to tears. Very sweet. Hope you are well.

  3. Sara, this was awesome… Thanks so much for the read 🙂

  4. Elaine macias

    Sara, brought a smile to my face. There are a few in there that remind me of my dad. Well done.

  5. Sara, sweet Sara, this is the first time I think that I have really carefully read this…mainly because it was not about Mother’s Day!! This is just an awesome tribute, even if a couple of your memories are a bit incorrect (i.e. Hallie Berry story was with the Scarboroughs) but a WONDERFUL tribute to the wonderful husband I have had the pleasure to join on this journey of life, with you being the prize! Much love, Mom

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