25 Things I Learned from My Father

25 Things I Learned from My FatherPhoto Courtesy of Melissa DeMeoMy dad, Vincent DeMeo, with my daughter, Frankie.

1. Never waste water.

2. Listen to good music, especially jazz.

3. Ella Fitzgerald was a great artist and a nice lady. Duke Ellington was a great artist and an elegant, articulate man. Miles Davis was a great artist but kind of a cuckoo clock. Stan Getz played a sweet sax, Illinois Jacquet played a driving sax, Coleman Hawkins played a rich, warm sax, Flip Phillips played an energetic sax, Lester Young played a delicate sax, and Charlie Parker played the saxophone like God.

4. Admire people who are not only good at what they do, but who love doing it.

5. Respect your roots.

6. Never waste food.

7. Mechanical things are as much art as science. They express beauty as well as order. Therefore, regularly check the fluid levels in your car.

8. Your body is a beautiful machine. Eat right and exercise.

9. Never waste money.

10. Be kind to children and animals.

11. Be a good friend.

12. Never waste anything.

13. When you’re watching a nature show on television, don’t feel too bad when the lion kills the gazelle because the lion has to eat, too.

14. How to make good Pasta Fazul.

15. How to change a flat tire.

16. There’s always something.

17. Everything’s fate.

18. Don’t scuff your shoes.

19. Anticipate what could go wrong—something always goes wrong—and try to prevent it from happening. If it happens anyway, learn from it.

20. Act a little cocky.

21. There’s only one way to do things: the right way.
Corollary: If you need a stone wall, hire an Italian mason.

22. When you’re screwing something in, make sure it’s on good and tight, but don’t overdo it, or you’ll strip the screw.

23. Don’t take the little sticker off the peach until you’re ready to eat it because the sticker will rip the skin and make it go bad faster.

24. Listen to people. Listen to their stories. Listen deeply. That’s how you learn things.

25. Love your family. They’re for always.

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