Yo soy La Lay

adventures in family, faith, and Down syndrome

Happy birthday, Dad!

on November 26, 2014

In honor of my dad’s 55th birthday, I present 55 things I’ve learned from the guy who (along with my mom) raised me.  He never reads this blog… but maybe this time, he will.

1. Learn everything you can.
2. Provide for your family. Work hard.
3. Get dressed every day.
4. And for heaven’s sake, wear shoes. (We grew up in an old home that was almost always under construction, so walking around without shoes was a safety hazard)
5. Serve others.
6. Go to church.
7. Take calculated risks.  When I was a little baby, we moved to Paraguay, South America for a little while.  Random, I know.  But sometimes, you have to do these kinds of things.
8. Eat healthy – food is fuel.  (Especially oatmeal) My dad eats oatmeal every day.  With raisins.  And he’ll offer you a bowl, too, if you come for a visit.  Only Ellie ever takes him up on it anymore.
9. When you go to a museum, read everything.
10. Exercise.  Like, every day.
11. Travel, but don’t be extravagant about it.
12. Read the newspaper.
13. Get all the juice out of the grapefruit.

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14. Use tape when painting.
15. Always find the best way to do things.
16. Change your own oil.
17. Cherish family and friends.


18. Give out the good candy on Halloween.
19. Take care of the ill and elderly.  Take them out to lunch.  Visit them when they are sick.  Listen to their stories.
20. Charleston chews taste best frozen.
21. Always have enough beer on hand for a small party.
22. Never mind the GPS, use an atlas.  Every car should have one.
23. When mom is gone, you can survive on tuna fish, hot dogs, and baked beans.
24. Falling asleep in front of the TV is in our genes.
25. Rinse out your recyclables before you put them in the bin.
26. Sometimes, it’s easiest to clean a baby’s poopy butt with a hose.
27. Braiding hair can be a three-man job My sister and I had excessively long hair as children and when my mom was gone, we would help Dad braid it.  Each of us took a chunk of the hair and away we went!
28. Self-propelled lawnmowers are for the weak.
29. Always be a good host (and throw one hell of a party while you’re at it).

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30. Don’t speed.  (Especially when driving a golf cart)
31. Invest in your community.  You’re never too young to join the historical society!
32. Make lists, on post-it notes if possible.
33. Go to the doctor on a regular basis. Get your cholesterol checked, have a physical, listen to your doctor, take your vitamins.
34. Give.  Give time, give money, give support.  
35. Do your best in school.
36. Save your money.
37. You’re never too old to enjoy a children’s museum.

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38. Save your salad dressing containers. They make excellent containers for nuts and bolts, as well as other random household objects.
39. Wear gloves. And a hat.  And boots.
40. When it snows, shovel often…
41.  But also stop to build a snowman.
42. Always seize the opportunity to see your favorite bands when they come to town (especially as they get old).
43. Speak little, but say lots.
44. Watch PBS.
45. Get down on the floor and play with the grandbabies!

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46. Save your receipts.  ALL of them.
47. Log your gas mileage.  (Full disclosure:  I’ve learned this, but I don’t do this.  However, I have at least one sibling who carries on the tradition.)
48. Eating the same meal for lunch every day is efficient.
49. Why buy an expensive picnic table when you can make one in your garage for less money??  And that goes for a lot of things.  Be handy, make your own stuff when possible.  Be a fixer.
50. If they knock down your mailbox,  just build another one.  A metaphor for life, perhaps?
51. Mustaches.  Not a good look.

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52. Write thank-you notes.
53. Insist that others do the right thing.
54. When the work is done and the time is right, take a break and let loose.


55. Practice makes perfect.

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2 responses to “Happy birthday, Dad!

  1. Aunt Carol says:

    That was great!

  2. Judy Lay says:

    Excellent example of a great dad! You are proof of it Maggie! Just learned that I got number 43 backward! Tony, if you’re reading this happy happy EVERY day to you, I am glad you were born and more glad to have you in our life!

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