When fishing, choose your bait wisely.
You're not going to catch stripers with a squid jig, that's for sure. If what you're hoping to attract is something slimy and tentacle-y and spits ink, then by all means, break out the colorful and wildly inappropriate jigs. Just kidding—you're not leaving the house dressed like that, young lady. Go get yourself a nice, sensible lure, preferably with a high neckline.
Do something you love, and don't apologize for it.
My dad is a farmer. He's been retired for years, but he's still a farmer. He loves animals, can identify every plant in New England by sight and/or taste, and by golly, you haven't lived until you've heard him describe the intricacies of artificially inseminating a cow. He never apologizes for any of this—he doesn't have to. The man knows his stuff. If you don't want to hear about frozen bull semen over dinner, eat somewhere else. It is because of him that I don't feel the need to apologize if I've taken twenty minutes to describe the intricacies of dependent clauses in sentence structure. Maybe you're bored, but I'm having the time of my life.
If you don't love it, quit—but have a backup plan.
I'll never forget the smile on my father's face when I told him I wanted to quit taking dance lessons. The idea that he'd never have to sit through a recital again, watching his daughter pirouette when everyone else was shuffle-ball-changing, didn't upset him at all. I told him I planned on taking art classes instead.
"Will there be recitals?" he asked.
"No," I said, and Dad hugged me. "But you'll come to my art shows, right?"
Immediately, his face fell. Oh, well. Dad was never much of a hugger anyway.
Never stop learning.
One of the best things about my father is that he can do anything. I know people always say this about their dads, but in my father's case, it's totally true. Fix a car, skin a deer, build a solid investment portfolio, cook a gourmet meal using nothing but greens from the lawn and a random turtle, build a shed, repair a television using toothpicks, gum, and duct tape . . . my dad can do it. If he's never done it before, he'll learn how to do it. And then he'll teach his family. Turtle soup, anyone?
Never put your hand in a corn chopper.
Dad's all about making wise decisions. He was adamant that his daughters be safe when we lived on the farm, insisting that we stay away from blades, heavy machinery, and farm hands. My point: Dad is a big proponent of common sense. Don't stick your hand into a clogged chopper blade unless you *want* to be called Stumpy for the rest of your life.
There's no crying in baseball.
Was that Dad or Tom Hanks? Could've been Dad—he's not a big fan of tears—but I suspect it was Tom Hanks. Wait, I think what Dad said was "Listen to your mother." That certainly makes more sense.
Happy Father's Day, Dad! Thanks for making the term "farmer's daughter" something to be proud of.