Go Ask Daddy About Senior Rockers, Soil Properties and Lessons Learned the Hard Way

photo credit: Heart Of The Storm via photopin (license)
photo credit: Heart Of The Storm via photopin (license)

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

GAD GRAPHICProbably the journey Elise and I took from Charlotte through torrential rain and racetrack traffic along impossibly long I-95 a few weeks ago should be its own post. Or series of posts. The moments and gravity and mood of that trip will stick with us both for a long, long time.

And you helped to get us there – and back.

Response was so heartening for the Go Fund Me campaign. I gambled bill money on the chance to take my girl to Nova Southeastern, to let her have a shot at an ID camp at one of her dream schools.

We set the GPS south and totally gave them hell, despite the cold Elise caught along the way.

I’ll write about the journey soon, promise.


What I will tell you is that Elise tried out the school and program just as they tried her out. She sat with me and two slices of pizza on Pompano Beach at the end of a long, long day, and told me, “this isn’t for me, dad.” The posh school and sleek program didn’t win her over.

Never mind what their coaches said.

There’s more to the story (there always is) and it has more to do with life and a daughter and a dad hoping to help foster a path to her dreams. After sweeping west around flood-washed Columbia on the way back, Elise took a second visit with Warren Wilson College, in the NC mountains.

My sweet girl – the same one who began her journey in a splashy red jersey for a team called the Raptors, she’s managed to draw an offer to play for the Owls and coach Lydia Vandenbergh. I couldn’t be more proud of this kid!

Now, on to the questions randomly picked for this edition of Go Ask Daddy, a weekly compilation of questions my girls ask me, roughly in the time between sunrise and that hour they sneak their devices into bed with them.

1. Is Mick Jagger still alive?

photo credit: Rolling Stones - Roma 2014 via photopin (license)
photo credit: Rolling Stones – Roma 2014 via photopin (license)

The Rolling Stones front man is alive and kicking, lovey.

It says so, at deadoralive.com.

He’s 72, the same age as actress Linda Evans (who shares my birthday), Barry Manilow and Robert De Niro. Rock star age is often closer to dog years than people years, but some rockers, including Jagger and indestructible Keith Richards, keep on rocking. (Richards is only 71. Only!)

Dude doesn’t stop moving, though, and that I’m sure adds to his longevity. The Rolling Stones are legendary as rockers, but it’s the blues and soul influence I love, especially in my favorite Stones song.

2. Why don’t they have an E in grades?

photo credit: E (Campo Francesco Morosini, Venice) via photopin (license)
photo credit: E (Campo Francesco Morosini, Venice) via photopin (license)

Kid, if they did, I coulda been … well, I might have upgraded to average in school.

Extra letter grades might have kept me from a spot on the dean’s list. The dean’s shit list, that is.

Some do. Mine didn’t. The only courses I earned an A in in college? English.

F stands for Fail, and it just so happens it’s in proximity to the four passing grades.

Mount Holyoke (Mass.) College debuted a system similar to what The Man tried to hold me down in when I was in school:*

  • A: Excellent, 95-100%
  • B: Good, 85-94%
  • C: Fair, 76-84%
  • D: Barely passed, 75%
  • E: Failed, below 75%

*-as if the man slept in for most of his 8 a.m. classes and prioritized the school newspaper over homework like I did.

3. Can you burn dirt?

Not unless it’s loaded with combustibles.

Ever considered the makeup of dirt, the very glue that holds little boys (and my car) together? Quartz and other oxides don’t burn. They’re in dirt’s composition. Dead plants, living and dead organisms, and dung also make up dirt.

(We told you not to eat it.) These elements won’t burn unless they’re dry.

Mostly, dirt’s percentage of water keeps it from burning. This is why we cover camp fires with dirt to put them out. And why Luke Skywalker’s house didn’t burn in the original Star Wars.

4. What do hamsters look like?

photo credit: Ruby via photopin (license)
photo credit: Ruby via photopin (license)

This one has some dust on it.

This must have been before the days Grace campaigned for a hamster. When she set a goal and a budget, promised to clean litter boxes and unload dishwashers and care for pretend hamsters to demonstrate responsibility and hamster-loving tendencies.

(I rooted for her. I really did. But ultimately, the objectives remained unattained.)

Hamsters are peculiar, if you can find them. Usually, they’re burrowed deep in their bedding, not unlike your big sisters on soccer-free Saturday mornings.

Their beady eyes are dark as daddy’s, and their cheeks resemble mine when the restaurant manager announces the buffet will close in 15 minutes.

They’re a little bearish, in a Darren Sproles kind of way.

5. Why do people have to die before people listen?

Oh love. Such a loaded question.

I might have devoted a post to this one. I can’t remember the context.

People have to die before people listen for many reasons.

We’re stubborn.

We think we know it all.

We don’t realize the gravity of the situation.

Sometimes, lesson can’t be told – they must be learned.

We see it every time there’s a car swept up in a flooded street or another cancer death from smoking or texting and driving and you know what? Sometimes that doesn’t even work, does it?

So, girls, let’s make sure *we* listen. I’ll fasten my seatbelt and take my fish oil and go easy on the fried fish. You girls eat well and be picky about the cars you get into with friends and always pass when a joint is passed around in your presence.

I’ll check my blood sugar daily and relax and drink more water. You make sure you talk with someone – a friend, your mom or me, a therapist – when the world gets tough to bear.

You floss and get checkups and don’t ever forget to retreat to the places that replenish you. Be love and give love and love what you are and what you give.

And always remember that if you do all that, or some of it, or none of it, you can count on one thing.

I’ll listen.


  1. Aw, I know you will listen as time and again has proven you are a great listener and you definitely have a lot to proud of with Elise and actually all your girls! 😉

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Excellent conversations lately with Marie and watching Grace in her school play tonight … it happens every day, Janine. I’m a lucky man.

  2. 1jaded1 says:

    Elise has a mind of her own. Good for her. Whenever the question comes up if Mick Jagger or Keith Richards equaldead or alive, I laugh because I have to think about it. Our school district in Mich had E. For the first four years I went to school and we earned Fs. When we came back, I was all what does E even mean. Then i wondered if I would ever learn to spell bc fail doesn’t begin with E. In the real world it is pass/fail, learn it. Thank you.

    1. 1jaded1 says:

      For the first four years school was in California with Fs, to clarify.

    2. Eli Pacheco says:

      She does, LJ. I was proud of how she processed the day so truthfully.

      When either of those rockers go, it’ll be a big deal. What does the song say about Heaven having one helluva band? That.

      I managed to go 40-plus years toeing the line between pass and fail – daily.

      1. 1jaded1 says:

        I’m glad you’ve done so. I have also been around 40+ years and can give others except me the benefit of the doubt. Elise, Marie and Grace are all on solid ground. I’m creating my own word…Eail…nope won’t cut it.

      2. 1jaded1 says:

        E for effort woukd have earned me grounded for the school year.

      3. Eli Pacheco says:

        I’d have gotten thunked in the head.

  3. kismaslife says:

    Such a a great experience for you and your daughter! I love the last one, listening is key to life. More people need lessons while others are experts at it. Happy Friday Eli!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      We enjoyed a full 93% of the time we spent together on that trip! Who am I kidding … 97%.

      I sometimes get heavy ones like that last one, Tiff. I kind of cherish them.

  4. ksbeth says:

    that is awesome that she knows herself so well and is comfortable with telling you how she feels, even if it is hard. also love the number 5 question. i’ve often wondered that myself.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      i value that, beth, that she can tell me things. i wish i could remember the context of when that was asked. it’s so valid for so much, isn’t it?

  5. Kathy G says:

    Here’s to old musicians and young soccer players. They both rock!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      They kind of make the world go round, Kathy. Them, and Steve Jobs.

  6. NotAPunkRocker says:

    I”m glad she was able to listen to her heart (and have you there to listen to her) and make the decision that was right for her. Good going both of y’all!

    #5 is a big issue with our family right now, so right on with your answers to that one. Everyday is a new chance to apply the lessons we have learned, good or bad, as I like to remind M (and as he likes to remind me).

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Me too, Sheena. I just knew I had to get her down there to see for herself.

      No. 5 is ingrained in the human condition. Every day that I fail, I get a chance to try again tomorrow.

  7. Great advice Eli! When our kiddos ask the hard questions, we want them to ask us. I have always maintained that kind of relationship with our daughter (one and only child) and we have had some really hard talks. It is very difficult to hold a straight face sometimes when hearing things I really didn’t want to hear, but at the same time, I was glad she was telling me. I know that sounds contradictory but there you have it. She is 28 now and I knew the first time she was asked to smoke a joint and I also knew when she actually tried it. Sheesh… that was a hard one. But one of the things I always tried to do was NOT be a hypocrite. I was always honest with her and my experiences and keeping that open door of communication open has allowed me to help her through some really tough situations. Sometimes I don’t want to be the parent though… :-/

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks. I’m grateful when my kids come to me with questions, big and small. It’s not always easy, is it?

      We used to go on Daddy Daughter dates when they were littler, and it was a chance, I said then, if they needed to tell me something, to do it and not get in trouble for it.

      It didn’t come up, but I hope that it paved the way to trusting me and knowing I’d help and understand.

      As I mentioned, it’s far from easy, Courtney. But I’d rather my girls come to me with these things than to go to anyone else.

  8. tamaralikecamera says:

    Find out when Mountain Laurel season is in the mountains of NC. That’s when I’m visiting on a photography expedition. I’d love to congratulate Elise in person or maybe I’ll just shout it out loudly out my car window, if she doesn’t want to meet some weird blogger chick in a white minivan. I probably wouldn’t.
    And I can’t wait to read about the trip.
    Mick Jagger is SO alive.
    #5. Heady. Your answer is so perfect.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Oh hell, Tamara, I don’t know Mountain Laurels from Magnolias. Actually, I know what a Magnolia looks like.

      Kid has a weird blogger dad, so her tolerance is understandably high.

      I’d like to move like Jagger.

      Glad you liked the No. 5 answer. They toss these heady ones in in between questions about sharks and Kesha.

  9. amommasview says:

    I’m sure you are a very proud Dad and so you should be! Love your answers to the questions! Have a great weekend :-0

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks Sandra! Glad you like the answers – these kids are my equivalent to … oh hell, what’s the name of that online mind game thing?

      (I think I just shot down my theory that the kids keep me sharp.)

  10. Lyn says:

    You have a very smart girl there, Eli. this isn’t for me, dad. Some kids would take the offer because of the prestige of going to a posh school with a slick program. You must have just about popped the buttons off your shirt (and not from eating pizza either 😉 )
    Why do people have to die before people listen?… another reason is because we believe it will never happen to us.
    Looking forward to your full post on the trip 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks Lyn. It’s important to find a fit. We had a lot of great discussions on the trip. And ate pizza only once!

  11. laurie27wsmith says:

    Good to hear that Elise made a decision on her futball career. I can only imagine how a good a trip it would’ve been Mate. I know why Keith Richards is still alive, they haven’t developed a drug that can kill him yet. My brother had a Hamster when he was two, Mum caught him trying to eat it. A strange boy indeed. No 5 is a loaded question. People will always touch the wall with the wet paint sign on it or drive across that flooded creek. We have to learn by experience apparently… over and over and over…

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      She feels better that it’s behind her. I wouldn’t change a thing about the trip – except for maybe Elise’s cold and the flooding in South Carolina.

      I guess as we learn these lessons over and over, we fill up the newspapers, right mate?

      1. laurie27wsmith says:

        There’s always something happening Mate, it’s one bloody thing after another. Then you get the good bits. I guess you’re right. If it wasn’t for people doing stupid things there’d be no use in reading the papers.

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        … or to blog about.

  12. Great Q & A post! I’m listening…No. 5 is so true ~~~(^∇^)~~~

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks Pat! It’s good we can hear each other.

      1. (((o(*゚▽゚*)o)))

  13. jannatwrites says:

    The answer to your last question is awesome. It is a loaded question for sure. It would be nice if we were more own to learning lessons. I had to laugh at the not being able to burn dirt, but a little disturbed by the passing thought and wave of relief that this must mean my younger son could survive fire, unharmed.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks, Janna. These girls do sneak loaded questions in, so I have to always be ready.

      That dirt answer is good news to boys near and far.

  14. cricketmuse says:

    Go for guinea pigs. They are not as cranky as hamsters.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I had a chance at a trio of free guinea pigs, but didn’t act fast enough. They all seem kind of ratty.

      1. cricketmuse says:

        Piggers are so entertaining–they squeak upon learning that the refrigerator door opening might mean a carrot, they cavort when happy, they purr when happy, chirtle when ticked. They can be taught tricks as well. No rat compares.

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        Piggers? Are those guinea pigs? If so, I like your name for them better. An aardvark would make a kickass pet.

      3. cricketmuse says:


  15. reocochran says:

    I really enjoy your honesty about your daughter, Elise’s journey, Eli. I am one who may have been intimidated by “posh” schools but probably should have tries harder than go to a state college. Oh well, luckily your daughter has many choices and thank goodness~ she has a loving and I intelligent father!
    The last question should get *bonus* points! 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks Robin. She had an idea of what she wanted, but I thought it was important for her to see what her ‘dream schools’ were like too.

      Reality fits her like a family.

      1. reocochran says:

        You have made her feel confident in her own choices. This is a wonderful gift you have given her, Eli. ♡

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        I think the real gift is seeing the confidence within her!

  16. Pompano Beach – did you go and say hello to Marcia?

    So glad Elise is going to end up with a college she feels comfortable with (and that is closer to home!)

    Did Grace outgrow the hamster project?

    Question number 5 is so warranted, and you’ve answered it very wisely.

    Where I grew up (and my parents still live) there is a railroad crossing that didn’t have any warning signs, lights or barriers. Several people died there. Today all of the above is installed, thank God. It’s on Colin’s way from school on Tuesdays when he goes to his grandparents’

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      No, I didn’t realize she lives there! I do love that Elise will be two hours away, in the mountains, which I love.

      Grace hasn’t mentioned the hamster project in a while – I give it two weeks after soccer season to start up again.

      Just think of all the stuff our parents let us do in the backseat of the cars when we were little.

  17. Oh Eli, this was so amazingly beautiful. You, my friend, are one hell of a father and let me tell you coming from the mother of an adult child who also has one hell of a father it means everything. When one day you look, and you see this extraordinary adult in the place of your child you will know exactly what I mean! I’m proud to “virtually” know you.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      What, the part about Mick Jagger? I think to be a dad you just have to try to be a dad. You don’t have to be perfect, or I’d have been kicked to the curb by now.

      I’m amazed when I see my girls do great things and ordinary things and extraordinary things, and I think to myself, “see, you didn’t mess ’em up too much.”

      Proud to know you too, Rena. Thank you.

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