The Most Important Thing my Father Taught Me
It’s not something he said. He said a lot of good things; good things about not liking violence, respecting friends and elderly, the usual stuff. They were all good lessons but nothing that really sticks out.
It was something he did. Not something he did one time or on several occasions. It was basically a way of life that he carried out and he did it like it was nothing. I never understood it.
He was a giver. He helped everybody for no reason whatsoever and at great expense to himself and his family. I never understood this. He helped a lot of people and for the majority of my childhood we were broke. It was constant. Little things, big things, time-consuming things, expensive things; it was all over the place. As I grew older I even started resenting it because we had so many problems ourselves and some people he helped were genuinely not good people as far as I could tell. Why give things away when we have so little?
It was always a source of friction between us.
Then he died and we were broke. My mom a housewife and me halfway through college in a degree I didn’t like. We didn’t know what  to do with ourselves. It was a VERY rough time.
And that’s when [things] started to come together in my retarded little twenty-something head.
A friend of the family picked us up and paid us a driver to take us cross state and chauffeur us around during the funeral time.
He died in a car accident and totaled the car. My car had just broken the engine. I had tons of things to do, settle legal issues, continue studies, help my mom, find a job, etc. All very hard to do in a third world country with little public transportation (Do-able, don’t get me wrong. That’s not the point though). I had no way in hell of paying for the repairs. During the funeral, a friend of his whom we hadn’t seen in probably close to a decade asked about our situation. The totaled car came up along with mine. After we got home a week later, he showed up with a tow truck and told me to give him the keys. He got it back to me a few days later fixed, no questions asked and left.
A distant cousin whom we hardly ever saw helped us get our assets in order. We owned some idle property and she managed to rent it for us and get us some breathing room income.
I lost a lot of classes during this time and was probably gonna fail the year. But in one of the crucial classes, I miraculously passed for no apparent reason. Never found out why.
My dad was a lawyer and was owed some sizable payments from a long term trial he was handling for a construction company. The guy had some “strong disagreements” as to what he owed us. We needed a lawyer and practically walked in to a big civil law firm. We didn’t know these guys, it was just the first one we picked. We explain the situation and one of the partners says “I met your dad once. I was on the road with a flat tire and no spare. This guy pulls up, asks what the problem is and then gets out and hands me his spare. He didn’t ask for my number or anything, he just left. This one is free, kid.”
More car troubles! An old employee of my dad did some shade tree mechanic work so I went there cause I had no money to pay for a real shop. For a couple of years I was probably his most recurring client… he never charged me a dime. Violently refused. (My dad had given him his first car. Given.)
My dad’s best friend called every week, religiously, for years. Asked about us, talked to my mom for hours as she cried.
These things kept happening to us. Lucky breaks everywhere. I wont bother you with more stories but there are lots of them.
The echoes live on to this day. I’m now doing well, eight years later. I no longer need help but it keeps happening. My dad was a powerboat race pilot, I’m trying to follow his footsteps on that. I called a guy about a boat they told me he was selling. He says “Yeah, I’m selling it” so I ask how much he wants for it and he says “Man… I’m standing 10ft away from the memorial plaque of your dad….” he had gotten a memorial plaque at a marina where the biggest races used to be held “The boat is yours, AJ.”
I protested, sell it to me cheap if you want, but I can’t take it for free. We literally had an argument over this. “There’s nothing to discuss. The boat is already yours and I wont touch it. It’ll just rot if you don’t come pick it up”.
Turns out the boat was a speed record holder that my dad had built for HIS dad to race in years ago. I did not know this when I called. The person who told me to call this man did know and never told me. He knew what would happen.
It was nothing the man ever said. He never told me what he was doing or why. I don’t think he even had a reason. But with his death he taught me the greatest, most hardcore lesson a human can learn, in my opinion.
I don’t think I need to say it explicitly either. I think the one or two of you who just read this [will] probably understand. But I’m determined to never forget that lesson. The cost of learning it was very high.
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