Memories of Advice from Dad
by Rick Morton
There are three pieces of fatherly-type advice that I’ve always attributed to my dad. Over the years I have searched my mind to try and figure out when exactly he said them, and I honestly don’t know now if, in fact, he ever did or if they were just things I had hoped he would have said if he only knew how. But I know one thing to be true. They are things he would agree with, and so I have always given him the credit for them. So, whenever one of them seems appropriate I smile and say something like, “Ya know, my dad told me once”, or… “That reminds me of something my dad always says”, or possibly, “My dad would have said that like this….”.
So ……. I’d like to share with you now some advice from my dad.
Ya know, my dad told me once… “Never mess with anybody you can’t outrun”. This has proven to be some very good advice over the years. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gauged a situation by how strong a man’s legs looked, or how out of shape I was at the time. I’m sure this advice saved my life more than once. And as I stand here now I can say with pride, “Dad, I haven’t had to run away from a fight in a long time, and I haven’t thrown a punch in over twenty years”. Of course, as children it is our job to improve upon the advice of our parents, and so in that spirit (most likely because my own son who has grown to be 5’ 10 ½ “ and 220 lbs. pointed out recently that I can no longer outrun many of the smaller members of the JV football team. And so I have been forced to change the line to read, “Never mess with anyone you can’t outrun, or that you can’t pick up over your head”. Because although there are an increasing number of those I can’t outrun, there are still a few I can throw. So watch yourself Chad Jones. Ultimately, the point I gained from dad’s lesson is that fighting never really solves a problem, and neither does running away from one. So find ways to avoid both.
That reminds me of something my dad always says… “If you need something done, get the busiest guy in town to help you do it, because he’ll find a way to get it done”.
Even if dad never said this, he lived it. He was the hardest working guy you knew. For many, he WAS the guy you found to help you, because he’d always find a way to get it done. For anyone who knew dad before his health started to fail it was hard to see the last few years sitting in a chair with a blanket over his knees. And even harder to see the look in his eyes when he knew there was something that needed doing, and he was no longer the guy that could get it done.
The third piece of advice dad always gets credit for is something I’m sure he said, but I just can’t put a place and time on it, and it goes something like this. My dad would have said that like this…. “I always thought that if someone was going to mess around they should make damn sure it’s with someone better than they have now, cuz even then they’re probably going to lose both”. And then he’d pause and say (half to himself) “…and I’ve just never found anyone better than your mother.”
Dad, I judge who I am now, through the lens of who I knew you to be. Ethical….hard working….. tireless…….true! I gage my life by a succession of memories. Not all of them were without pain, but none were without meaning; and none without a basis in love. The words were not always spoken, but the intentions, often only seen in hindsight, were unabashedly selfless, and unequivocally heartfelt. If I live to be half the man you are in my eyes I could ask for no greater success. I love and miss you dad.