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My father had a favorite saying that preempted all discussion. “What’s right is right,” he would declare, which actually meant that he was right, and everyone else was wrong. No questions, no explanations, no comments from the peanut gallery, case is closed.

My father worked hard and he expected the same from his eight kids. He often held down more than one job to keep us fed, clothed, safe, and secure. He could be hard on us, and mostly he was hard on himself.

He had opinions. He had worries. He had judgments. He had responsibilities. He had rules and regulations. He had his first son at age seventeen.

At number six, I came into his black or white world seeing only shades of grey. Wearing glasses in the fourth grade didn’t help. I always seemed to be left of his right.

I kept my “head down, my nose clean, and never took any wooden nickels,” as he advised. I never looked to him for comfort or support. I never expected to be understood. I kept my ideas and opinions to myself, lest I be ridiculed.

My father passed several years ago. I miss him. I love him. And I thank him. For it was his “black or white, right is right” that made me question authority, value my thinking, and follow my dreams. His “right” turned me hard to the left, down roads of adventure, discovery and understanding. Thanks Dad.

 

Right is Right…or is it Left?
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