Guest Post: Amy, of Long Drive Journey, on the Lessons of Dad

photo credit: Matthew Oliphant via photopin cc
photo credit: Matthew Oliphant via photopin cc

Amy came along last winter as we were talking snow days.

She first commented on my post There are No Days Like Snow Days, and told the story of how she isn’t usually a big fan of the flaky white stuff. But that during a recent storm, she couldn’t help herself – she pulled off her glove and snapped a picture.

Amy, of the wonderful blog Long Drive Journey, stuck around throughout the summer and into fall. She’s contributed to our six-words posts.

Who is she? She’s a writer about half my age. In pursuit of her PhD, she already has learned a lesson that will carry her far life – that life is more about the journey than the destination. She’s written excellent posts on raw beauty, healthy living, and my favorite, How to Be a Blogger Without a Baby, Dog, or Significant Other.

Today, she’s on the CD to talk about her dad. Her dad stories, to be specific, and lessons learned from the man. I’m a big fan of dads around here. Please give Amy a warm welcome, and be sure to check out her blog, too.

photo credit: Matt McGee via photopin cc
photo credit: Matt McGee via photopin cc

My dad loves to tell stories. He talks to friends and to strangers, and he tells his stories to anyone who will listen (and sometimes to my mom and me even when we aren’t listening). By far, his favorite story to tell is about me. The gist of it is that when I was 2, I told him that my mind and my mother’s mind were the same, but his mind? His mind was incredibly different.

Pretty sassy for a two year old, huh?
Pretty sassy for a two year old, huh?

Although my dad’s stories feel like an old sweatshirt by this point, something that feels comfortable the minute you put it on, even if it has a few holes in the armpit, I find that I can still learn something from them each time my dad gives a new account. Here are some of the things those stories have taught me:

1. Always stand up for yourself, because there are times when your self-respect is all you have. My dad is, and will always be, a laborer by trade. He is one of the smartest people I know, and probably could have been a mathematician if he’d tried, but he never finished college and prefers working with his hands over sitting at a desk. He also grew up in the south.  Many of his stories have included cashiers who wouldn’t wait on him or jobs that passed him over not because he was weak, but because he was black. My father’s experience living this life is something I (thankfully) cannot understand. In fact, he has made it his life’s work to give me all the opportunities that I need so that I would never have to understand. I can’t think of many people that I respect more because he has always respected himself.

2. A cookie after dinner is always a good thing. Less from a story and more from experience, my dad never ends a day without dessert. He has perfected the art of cookie making, ensuring that they’re always the perfect amount of gooey, chocolatey, and good. My dad thinks life is too short not to finish your day with some sweets, and his waistline might suffer, but he makes me believe it’s good for the soul.


3. It’s okay to cry. My dad is NOT an emotional man, so I’ll never forget the time my mom went out of town and he sat down to watch a movie with me. It was something sad where the main character fell into a coma and the love of her life sat by her bed. When she woke up, I saw my dad hastily wipe a tear from his eyes. Fifteen years later, I still remember that moment.

4. Finish school. One of my father’s biggest regrets is that he didn’t finish college. Some of the best advice that he ever gave me was to follow my dreams (and then to bring my butt upstairs and hit the books).  I’m now headed off to get my PhD, so I think he did good.

5. Never, ever, ever give up. Because he never has.

My dad and I don’t always see eye to eye. Our minds probably are about as different as I described when I was 2.  Sometimes it feels like we live in two different worlds, and both of us have to board spaceships to meet somewhere in the middle. But then I realize that my dad gave me my gumption and my guts.  He gave me my nose and my ability to kill bugs without having to call a man to do it for me. He gave me strength and courage and assurance.  And he gave them all to me through his stories.

So talk on, dad. I guess I was listening.

Amy is the voice behind Long Drive Journey, where she blogs about life in transition and all of the crazy things that go along with it.  Although her heart resides in Louisiana, Amy is currently living in Chicago, IL.  She loves writing, but does find it difficult to do so in the third person.  Connect with me – err, Amy, on the blog, Facebook, or Twitter.

father quote


  1. ksbeth says:

    what a wonderful, wise man – he clearly understands what is truly important in life, including the sweet after every dinner principle)

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      this guy gives all of us someone to look up to, beth.

    2. I think so too, Beth! Plus knowing that you’re getting sweets after dinner makes dinner taste a little bit better regardless of what you’re eating…

  2. laurie27wsmith says:

    First off I must say hi to Yvonne and beth who beat me here today. Hi Ladies. I find it difficult to read blogs about fathers Mate, especially where there’s been a great interaction and some normalcy It’s good to meet Amy though.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I hear you, brother.

      1. laurie27wsmith says:

        Thanks Mate.

    2. It’s nice to meet you, too, Laurie. Thanks for reading.

      1. laurie27wsmith says:

        You’re welcome Amy.

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        So polite. It’s funny to see you on good behavior, mate.

      3. laurie27wsmith says:

        Mate, I’m the ultimate gentleman.

      4. Eli Pacheco says:

        You’d like Laurie’s stuff too Amy …

  3. 1jaded1 says:

    Hi Amy, your dad sounds pretty smart, as do you.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Like father like daughter … I hear that sometimes, too. (Not sure if it’s good or bad in our case! A little of both).

      1. 1jaded1 says:

        I’m sure it is probably both, and that’s awesome. :0). My mom said my dad and I were two peas in a pod; others did as well (I’m sure for the good and the bad).

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        I’ll take them both with my girls.

    2. I think I learned a lot of it from him!

      1. Eli Pacheco says:

        I wonder if my girls will ever think this.

  4. Loved the lessons you learned from your dad and thank you so much for sharing with us today 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      love it when a dad does good.

    2. Thanks, Janine! I think if even one person eats a cookie after dinner tonight and really enjoys it, my job here is done…or my dad’s job here!

      1. Eli Pacheco says:

        Psh. Why wait for dinner? #cookiesbetweenbreakfastandlunch

  5. Kim says:

    I loved reading some of the lessons that Amy learned from her dad. She is an incredible young lady and I think now we know where at least some of that came from!!!
    And, I couldn’t agree more on the cookie thing except I’m trading cookies for a glass of wine!!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Never discount the allure of cookies *and* wine.

    2. Thanks for always being supportive, Kim, on here or on there! And cookies, wine, same principle 😉

      1. Eli Pacheco says:

        What if you had to choose?

  6. Your dad is a wise man, Amy. Reminds me a lot of my Grandfather. Somehow I think they would have gotten along well. Best of luck as you continue working toward your PhD!
    Thanks for sharing the story, Amy and Eli!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Hey Lisa – glad you liked it!

    2. Thank you, Lisa! I could write a whole other book on things I learned from my grandfather. Mine was special as well. Thanks for reading!

      1. Eli Pacheco says:

        You should write about grandpa sometime, Amy.

  7. Cassandra says:

    Sounds like your dad is pretty unique. You are a lucky woman.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      You can see the influence in her writing, can’t you?

    2. Thanks, Cassandra. Unique is right. And it’s funny because I didn’t always appreciate it until I got a little older.

      1. Eli Pacheco says:

        I think that’s pretty common – and dads suddenly get cooler one day.

  8. NotAPunkRocker says:

    I love that you find something new each time you listen to one of his stories. And I agree, cookies are good for dinner!

    The “after” was a mistake, right?

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      after, before, during … it’s all the same.

    2. Hahaha well he eats them “after’ a lot. After work. After dinner. After his favorite TV show. During his favorite show.

      1. Eli Pacheco says:

        Always a good reason for a cookie. But I’ll settle for a bad reason, too.

  9. Sandy Ramsey says:

    Your dad sounds like a very wise and wonderful man. How blessed you are to have him! I would imagine that he is quite proud watching you make your dreams come true.

  10. Cristina says:

    Great lessons from your dad Amy! Love the one with the cookie 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Where there are dads and cookies – anything is possible.

    2. Haha that’s the best one. I just had the throw the rest of them in there to make that one sound better 🙂

      1. Eli Pacheco says:

        You’ll learn a lot about my readers when you talk about cookies.

  11. Hi Amy! I’m just about to get myself a freshly baked cookie, thanks to you. (and your dad)
    I do hope he’s read this, or will. And I hope he’ll know it’s ok to cry when reading what his beautiful daughter had to say about him. I know I may have just wiped a tear or two away.

    1. I wish I were closer to you because I would LOVE a freshly baked cookie right now. I normally have to stick to the Chips Ahoy kind these days because I don’t have any time! I hope he’ll read it too. My mother (my biggest fan) read it before I even had breakfast this morning and called and told me how much she loved it. My guess is she’ll share.

      1. Eli Pacheco says:

        At first, I thought you meant your mom was going to share cookies …

    2. Eli Pacheco says:

      This was good stuff, wasn’t it, T-Bow?

    1. Thank you, Nelson! Glad to “meet” you 🙂

      1. Eli Pacheco says:

        Nelson’s a teacher with lots of tales, Amy.

  12. Eli, thank you again for having me. I’m so happy that I stumbled upon your blog and complained about the snow. My mother has already read this post and she approves. She called me this morning to tell me – there is a very good chance you might have a new reader in her 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I’d love for Mama Journey to join the fray here, Amy. So glad we connected, too.

  13. These are great life lessons! Loved this, as always!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I know how to pick them, don’t I Rachael?

  14. Rosey says:

    It sounds like dad did and is doing just fine with his family. Being a parent myself, I love when the kids grow up and sing their parent’s praises. 😉 Now I’m headed over to follow Amy on her blog. 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Rosey – you’re going to love it over there.

  15. Kerri says:

    What a beautiful tribute to your dad. I hope you share this with him.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I hope he shares it, too.

  16. shashi @ says:

    I love this post Amy! My dad used to tell his stories too – when I was younger I used to think he knew everybody in the whole world – we traveled a good bit for my parents jobs and he always always struck up deep, funny conversations with EVERYONE he met!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      We dads very rarely meet a stranger.

  17. Amy, I love your Dad’s points!
    I think he is right on. And I’m not only saying that because I have a sweet tooth, too 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Would it be the same if he said “broccoli is good for dessert, too”?

      1. The way I see him he’d say “you’ll get double dessert if you eat up your broccoli!”
        Besides I don’t have anything against broccoli. I’m even known to enhance my lasagna with it, but I’m sure you’ve heard that before.

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        That’s a sneaky tactic, Tamara.

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