Corn and Courage
It seems we often reflect on “sayings” from our Mom that we remember for the rest of our life. Those like, “Always wear good underwear in case you have to go to the hospital”. (Definitely important to remember, although I have to say that the few times I’ve been in the hospital I really didn’t care whether my underwear looked “good” or not.) Yet, we don’t seem to reflect as often on the things our Dad told us that stick with us forever. So, in honor of Father’s Day, I decided to consider some “Dad Sayings” that I still recall, and have actually said to my own kids.
First, a little background on my Dad. He grew up in a tiny town in Indiana. He was born there (well, actually at another “wide spot in the road” just a few miles south), his parents were born there, I was born there. He married a girl (my mom) from the same town. My Dad passed away and was buried in that same town. That was just the way you did things when you are from a small, farm town in the Midwest. People still do that today there, for the most part. I think that’s pretty cool, actually – especially since I moved away from that town many years ago and have begun to miss that lifestyle now that I’m in my ‘middle’ years.
My first “Dad Saying” is actually related to his upbringing in that small Indiana town. When I needed encouragement for that speech in school, or that job interview, my Dad would say, “You go in there like you’ve got corn to sell”. That meant, go in there confidently, with your head up, and know that you can do whatever you need to do. You see, back in the old days of farming, when the crop came in, you first fed your family. Then, if you were blessed enough to have a bumper crop that year, you had extra to take to market – you had some to “sell”. This told people that you were “on your game”, you “had it goin’ on”, whatever we would say nowadays that meant things are good for you. Now, corn, as you may or may not know, is currency in Indiana. Corn and basketball are the two matters by which all other things are measured. Hence, corn being the appropriate produce in this analogy.
The other saying I remember most from my Dad was, “Do something, even if it’s wrong”. Let me explain. My Dad was not encouraging me to be impulsive or to purposely do something “wrong”. However, he was encouraging me to be self-sufficient, strong, and brave. My Dad didn’t care much for procrastinators, whiners, or worriers. And, he knew that sometimes you have to make mistakes in order to learn something. I also knew that my Dad ‘had my back’ no matter what. That support gave me the courage to think for myself and follow my dreams, even if that meant doing some things that were a little scary at the time. And, boy, have I done some “wrong” things!
I don’t think I fully grasped the significance of my Dad’s sayings at the time he spoke them. But, now that I’m a grown woman with grown kids, his words continue to speak to me in relevant and meaningful ways. Who knew corn could give you courage? Thanks, Dad.