Today's prompt was to write a letter to fourteen year old me. It turned into a reflection of my relationship with my father, whom I lost a few months after graduating college. Two years ago I had officially lived longer without him than with him in my life, but still miss him and think about him daily.
Dear 14 year old me,
If I remember right, the highlight of your year will be your dad bringing home a bootleg copy of Return of the Jedi and kissing Melanie at the school dance. Or was her name Nicole? Obviously Return of the Jedi made the more lasting impression. You will wonder if you will ever gain rhythm and not have two left feet. You will not. But your dad will pay for a year of guitar lessons before you realize it.
But to more serious matters, your father will over the next few years give you several pieces of advice. At my current age enough time has lapsed to evaluate them with the benefit of hindsight.
-1. “Son, do not become a pharmacist.” He will tell you it will end in third shift at a wal-mart pharmacy and being underpaid due to socialistic government controls. These are both likely true at some point in your career, but there is still enough time to make good money. Don’t let him deter you. His profession could be yours as well and you would be okay – maybe better than okay.
-2. “Go to UTC on the Broch.” This one is a toss up. Probably pre-med / pre-pharm better at UTK to stay in-state but UTC isn’t all bad. It was his and your mom’s alma mater.
-3. He never said this, but your dad oft tells how he dated one girl, your mom. You have this model in mind because it worked so well for him. The world has changed a lot since the 1940’s. Do not hitch your wagon to the first girl you date in college, especially if she cheats on you. Not saying she will, but she will. Save the heartache on that one.
-4. “Son, you can lead a horse to water, but if you shove his head under long enough he just drowns.” Your dad always tells you this when he is giving advice and realizes you are not listening. When he says that, listen. Time with him is precious. He has a lot of wisdom to offer.
Oh, and that night the two of you lose that one small piece of the grandfather clock you are building… take some time to look for it. I’ve been hauling that thing around to every house I own for forty years now and it sure would be nice if it worked. The company went out of business, so I can’t order another part.
See you in a bit,
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