Words of wisdom

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 16, 2005

On Sunday, we’ll celebrate the lives of men who gave us so much and asked for little in return.

Sunday, June 19 is Father’s Day. We’ll honor our dads with gifts he perhaps doesn’t need (please, not another tie), but he’ll smile all the same and humor his kids by telling them it’s exactly what he needs.

I wish I could buy my Pop another unwanted tie for Father’s Day. For that matter, I wish I could give him another tool set to add to the zillion or so he already had or another John Wayne movie to put with his million other VHS films of the &uot;Duke.&uot;

To be downright honest, I just wish I could feel his strong arms wrapped around me and smell his trademark Old Spice aftershave.

But, alas, there’s not enough money in the world to buy that. My Pop is no longer of this Earth. He died less than 24 hours after Father’s Day of last year (to be exact, June 21, 2004).

Ray Bryant in body is no longer here, but his legacy lives forever through his children and grandchildren. That legacy even transcends to those who knew him through his 40-plus years of helping the farmers in Northampton County.

I can still honor my Pop, much like Mrs. John B. Dodd, of Washington state, did when she first proposed the idea of a &uot;father’s day&uot; in 1909. Mrs. Dodd wanted a special day to honor her father, William Smart, a Civil War veteran who was widowed when his wife (Mrs. Dodd’s mother) died in childbirth with their sixth child. Mr. Smart was left to raise the newborn and his other five children by himself on a rural farm in eastern Washington state. It was after Mrs. Dodd became an adult that she realized the strength and selflessness her father had shown in raising his children as a single parent.

For a history lesson, it wasn’t until 1966 that there was an official Father’s Day. That came when President Lyndon Johnson signed a proclamation declaring the 3rd Sunday of June as Father’s Day.

I have a proclamation of my own to share about my Pop. His boss, Tony Short – Northampton County’s District Conservationist – kept a log of my Pop’s famous sayings. Tony called them &uot;Rayisms.&uot; Most, he said, are lessons of life.

Here are a few samplings of my father’s wisdom:

Somebody who talks too much has the Galloping Jawbone Disease.

When meeting a car that was crossing the yellow line, Pop would say, &uot;they’re taking their half in the middle.&uot;

A weatherman is 90 percent right 10 percent of the time.

I have no problems with questions, it’s the answers that give me trouble.

You look as sharp as a wet cornflake.

The boss is always not right, but the boss is always the boss.

I have the memory of an elephant and the figure to prove it.

The only thing I can draw is flies.

I don’t mean to brag, but I’m not as dumb as I look.

I’m just as happy as if I had good sense.

I run things around my house – the vacuum, the washer and the dryer.

I don’t have a job, I have a position.

Anybody can make water run downhill, but it takes a professional to make it run uphill.

Never sweat on government time and never go to the bathroom on your own time.

If you don’t stop moving, you’ll never get stuck.

I hope ya’ll enjoyed reading these as I had taking a memory-filled step back in time.

If you’re father is living, make sure to spend time, plenty of time, with him on Sunday. Tell him how much he is loved. You never know if you’ll get the chance to say those words to him again.