My dad passed a way a few weeks ago, and I've been flooded with tons of memories from my forty-four years with him. Here's the eulogy that I gave at his funeral about the things that he taught me:
You may have thought there were only two teachers in our family – me and Mama – but there were three. These are a just a few of the things that my daddy taught me.
Hard work is honest work and an honest day’s work makes you a better person.
If you chop weeds out of the peanut field, you will be rewarded with a mid-morning Pepsi Cola and a bag of salted peanuts.
Nothing runs like a Deere, a John Deere, that is.
If your daddy plants a row, a really long row, of tomato plants, you will be expected to have a tomato stand at the road.
Nobody ever has to be a stranger.
If you don’t know someone’s name, it’s okay to call him Calvin until you catch his name.
If you know a farmer, you know a friend.
The Da-Nite is a great place for a cheese biscuit, a cup of coffee, and good friends.
Always say ‘Hi’ to the person next to you.
A little magic goes a long way to making someone smile.
If you practice, you, too, can pull off your finger and pull quarters out of your friends’ ears.
Fast talkers are not a bad thing.
If you practice enough, you can count from one to one hundred and back again really, really fast.
There’s always room for something sweet!
Once you set your mind to it, you can lose weight.
A slice of Mama’s butter pecan cake is better right out of the freezer.
Little brown bags always have surprises in them, like Zero bars and 5th Avenues.
Always carry a change of clothes in your truck.
You can never have too many collections – train stuff, bottles, fishing poles – or too many caps.
Duct tape and wire really can fix almost anything.
Even when you think somebody is asleep, he may still be watching television.
If you can fry good cornbread, you’ll be invited to lots of pig pickings and fish fries.
Barbecue chicken cooked on charcoals is the best barbecue chicken.
Cigarettes are really, really bad.
Anybody can learn anything if you have enough patience to teach her.
Even a girl can build a bookcase, bait a fishing hook, and shoot a .22.
If you aren’t following instructions, you can burn out the clutch of a ’63 Ford flatbed truck.
If you’re gonna tell a joke, don’t mess up the punch line.
If you’re asked to emcee your high school class reunion, you should say ‘yes’.
You should always take care of your mama and your daddy.
Raleigh is really not that far of a drive to a hospital when you’re spending time with your father in his last months of life.
You should visit your mama every day and if that’s not doable you should at least call her.
Always spend time with those you love.
If you have a daughter, she will probably be a daddy’s girl.
You can learn a lot about your daddy when you go to a farm equipment sale and watch him buy a tractor.
You should go on at least one family vacation a year.
And the number one thing that my daddy taught me – when you love, you should love with your whole heart. That’s how he loved my mama; that’s how he loved me. That’s how he loved our family, especially Elizabeth. That’s how he loved his mama and his daddy and his brother and his sister. It’s how he loved all of you, his friends. And it’s how he loved his God and Jesus.
I love you. I love you more. I love you the most.