You Made Your Bed

 Lessons to live by… The aphorisms were, and still are time worn and seemingly clichéd; yet in each and every one the message rings as clear as a bell for all to hear. As kids when we were coming up, we would often hear all the old adages that Dad had stored up in his memory banks and dispensed to us on a regular basis. Deeply embedded into each of our collective psyches, the wisdom of Dad is still in effect.

Call it experience, longevity or just plain knowledge of living. He was really old school in thought and deed, and the nuggets of truth he gave us mean much more now than they did back then, and either consciously or subconsciously I think we still conduct ourselves on a daily basis with his old sayings subliminally back there in the recesses, still hearing his voice from when we were small and then tall.

I don’t think any of us ever sleep in late even now; “Get Up! Half the day is gone,” he would say, rousting us out of bed even on weekends. Sometimes we would watch him working on the car in the garage doing routine maintenance, changing the sparkplugs or draining the oil, and he would say to us, “If you don’t take care of your car, it won’t take care of you”.  

In an email Joe recalled him quiet and deliberate; “What did your mother say?”  was his reply when he didn’t want to be the one to say yes, and “If you get arrested, don’t call me” (When we got older, of course). And we can’t forget “Pretty soon patay” when he had advanced in age to his later years. (In Filipino language patay means ‘to die’) and also “Always cook more food than there are people”. 

To this very day I can’t put my hands in my pockets, because I can still hear him clearly; “Get your hands out of your pockets. It makes you look lazy!”  After Mom passed away he and I would sit every morning before I went to work at the table in his apartment and have coffee, talk, and I heard over and over, “Save your money for a rainy day” almost every day between bites of his apple turnover.

Just recently George reminded me of what is probably the oldest and the best quote ever, and it’s regarding the after effect in certain decision making processes, mostly when the outcome turned out less than desirable; “You made your bed, now lay in it”.  Yet how many times has each us heard it echoing in our own mind somewhere along the line when the decisions we made ourselves turned out to be wrong?

“You’re going to quarter me to death!”  Ralph recalled him saying, when we would pester him for twenty-five cents, and if anyone asked him for a bigger denomination he would utter; “Let me look in my little black book.” That little black book contained every amount of money anybody owed him, and when he died I put it in the same shirt pocket he always had it in before anyone noticed, when he was in the casket.

When our Grandmother frequently put down Grampa, and he meekly took it without any defiance Dad used to say “That’s a poor excuse for a man!” and Dad was always coming to Dave’s defense, and he would admonish us; “He’s still your brother.” even though we were at times utterly frustrated with Dave’s antics. When we wore a dirty shirt he would say, “Go change that shirt, you can grow potatoes on it!”

Just plain common sense he picked up along his way? Many of those old quotes are as old as there are people, keeping it real then, now, and in the future, and just plain old common sense. “You made your bed, now lay in it.”  Simple and straightforward, either it is or it isn’t. It can’t get any better said than that…