5 Things I Learned About Life from My Dad

By Sarah White

Within this blurry photo is a father-daughter relationship that I hold so dear. My dad had a remarkable life, marked by many phases including serving in the Navy during World War II, caring for his mother until she passed away from breast cancer, being an oil painter in NYC in the 1940s and 50s, marrying my mother (who was a single mom with two young boys living in NYC in the late 50s), buying a farm and moving the family to Maine, having two more children (me being one of them), getting a divorce and marrying again and having one more child relatively late in life for a total of 5.  He passed away 19 years ago. 

His spirit is with me always.

The Beauty of Sarcasm.
While some believe sarcasm is the lowest form of humor (“Sarcasm is the last refuge of the imaginatively bankrupt.” ― Cassandra ClareCity of Bones), I find it absolutely hysterical. Think Dr. House on House or Chandler from Friends, or generally anything out of David Letterman’s mouth. While not one to dish it out—my wit is not that quick—my father used it whenever it fit. It was part of his grumpy nature.  "If you don't have anything nice to say, say it sarcastically."

Understanding what real food is. 
Much of what we ate, we grew and raised.  We had two large chest freezers in the basement full of meat. I learned early about the food chain. The kitchen was his laboratory and that freezer held his raw materials. He would use what we had to make things like tongue stew, oxtail soup, and chicken stock from chicken legs. And to be clear, I did not necessarily like everything but appreciated that my dad would use as much of the animal as he could.  The 'nose to tail’ rage in many restaurants now was not a fad with dad. On a side note, I was vegetarian from 18 to 36 years old...

If you are uncomfortable in the water, float on your back.
Okay, I was a bit of a chicken when I was younger. I had a hard time in deep water. It scared me. My dad taught how to lay on my back and relax. It worked. I learned to swim pretty handily on my back, always looking up at the sky, not down into the dark water.

Auctions are good.
We would often go to the country auctions in Maine that sold livestock right alongside bureaus and dishes. I learned to keep an open mind and allow for unexpected treasures. These experiences may have led to how I approach Marshalls or TJMaxx now!

Morel mushrooms are gold.
We actually did a lot of mushroom "hunting." My dad always had his mushroom field guide with him when we went deep into the woods to find edible mushrooms. Once or twice during Spring, we struck gold and found morel mushrooms. We would go home and cook them up in a cast-iron skillet with butter and salt. Heaven.
10 Tips on Morel Mushrooms Hunting Tips to Hone your Searching Skills

Happy Father's Day!

-Sarah