Tales from Timnath: Guidance from Moms and Dads

By Phil Goldstein

With both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day approaching, I’m doubly reminded of how much I miss my late parents. I lost my mother to a five-year battle with cancer in 2003. The only blessing in her passing was that she didn’t have to see the lovely home she and my father had retired to in New Orleans destroyed during Hurricane Katrina two years later, along with all the keepsakes she’d collected throughout their worldwide travels. And the only blessing that came from the hurricane catastrophe itself was relocating my father to Colorado, giving me more time with him before he passed away in 2009.

But I don’t need any special days to remind me of my parents. Their memory is with me in every important aspect of my life. Whatever success I’ve had in various endeavors, I owe to them and their advice and counsel. 

Some of their guidance on life, relationships, business, career and conflict include:

  • There’s a big difference between a good experience and good experience. Carousing until dawn with your friends might be the former, but it certainly isn’t the latter.
  • Save well, invest better and you might get to retire sooner. I received a commercial lawn mower for my 13th birthday present.
  • Don’t make excuses. If you didn’t get it right, just say “Sorry.”
  • Studebakers are the best-made cars in America. I learned to drive in one of the three we owned over the years, and we shrewdly bought our last Studebaker just as the company and local dealership folded.
  • Don’t ever cheat the system or take advantage of one’s weakness. Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should.
  • There are a lot of interesting people out there. When you meet someone new, spend more time asking questions about them than talking about yourself. 
  • Running 100 miles a week might be good for your heart, but it can’t be good for your joints, which is no doubt why I should have my own wing at the orthopedic center.
  • You can’t not do the right thing. That’s very different than, you must not do the wrong thing.
  • When the other fellas say, “One for all and all for one”, what they really mean is, “Every man for himself”.
  • Don’t ever go along to get along. Others will but that doesn’t make it right for you.
  • Don’t ever assume someone else will take care of a problem. They won’t, but you may pay a price if you take it on.
  • Affording the payment is not the same as affording the purchase.
  • Community service is its own reward. Do it for your own gratification, not other people’s gratitude.
  • What will you ever do with a journalism degree? Well, maybe someday, someone will ask me to write a newspaper column.

Thanks Mom and Dad. I hope I got most of these right, because I really did try.

Phil Goldstein writes Tales from Timnath periodically for North Forty News. Phil is a nine-year Timnath resident who serves the Town of Timnath as chair of the Timnath Planning Commission. Phil is finally using his journalism degree after getting sidetracked 47 years ago. The views expressed herein are Phil’s only. Contact him with comments on the column or suggestions for future columns at NFNTimnath@gmail.com.

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