With apologies to Dr. Rick, there are some things from our parents worth retaining

By: 
John Mueller, news@newpraguetimes.com

We’ve all seen the insurance company commercials, the ongoing series featuring counselor Dr. Rick trying to keep people from adopting the behavior of their parents. It’s an amusing concept with lasting power, because, well, there’s a certain amount of truth to it.

But when remembering the anniversary of my father’s birth is next month, it got me to thinking if becoming my father was really such a bad thing. He would have turned 100 last year. Sadly, both parents left us in the lost summer of 2003, a span where one passed from ovarian cancer in June and the other from a coronary disease in the fall. Members of the Greatest Generation, they’d been married for 53 years at the time. A broken heart seemed like a less formal but accurate reason for my dad’s passing.

Honoring a sense of responsibility they instilled in us, his surviving children took care of him the best we could after mom passed. Twenty or so years before the commercial humorously warned us against it, we had become our parents. In retrospect, there’s nothing wrong with emulating, incorporating the best characteristics from someone into a persona. Take the best, discard the rest and run with it.

It makes sense, though sometimes it is much easier said than done.

Mom believed in “saving things for good,” a refrain my wife cringes at every time she hears me use it. You never know when it, whatever it may be, might come in useful so don’t toss it aside if there’s even an iota of a chance it might be useful someday. It’s a mindset probably developed during The Great Depression. In today’s, disposable world, it means your children will probably end up dealing with all the stuff you left behind – more coffee mugs than two people practically need, outdated tools which once did a job until a better design rendered them woefully inefficient, a cuspidor from my youth, nearly 80 hoodies. The list goes on and on.

Somewhere, there is a transistor radio best suited for a desk and listening to baseball games. Do the Twins still play daytime games? Probably not. Oh well, save it for good.

Still, there are some things worth hanging on to. What should one do with about 50 Hummel figurines mom started collecting back in the 1930s and ‘40s. Supposedly, they stopped making Hummels in 2008. The nearly 50 pieces represent a portion of her collection divided amongst the surviving children. They are still intact because mom seldom allowed her seven children to handle them. Their monetary value has greatly diminished. The sentimental value is incalculable.

There are also traits worth hanging on to, ideas and desirable behaviors worth hanging on to. In a flash, they remind me of mom and dad. Some consider them outdated. Cursive handwriting, shoveling the driveway for a neighbor, taking the time to talk with each other, picking up trash from the ground, neighbors rallying to support someone they barely know dealing with a tragedy, players helping pick up trash and putting chairs away after a ballgame or people taking their caps off for the national anthem without being reminded to do so, though there’s probably an app for that, too.

Occasionally at the high school, a student will open the door for a visiting adult. It’s a sign there’s still some hope for the future.

Hopefully, Dr. Rick won’t mind.

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