To my dad, yes I paid attention to you (sometimes).
My dad knows information on a variety of subjects that I will even admit are kind of boring to the rest of the world's population. However, even though I found this a little bit annoying while I was growing up, many of these bits and pieces of information have stuck with me even today.
On road trips, when we just wanted to sleep or watch movies, he would point out and draw our attention to the historical aspects of the landmarks we would drive past. All of us would (of course) roll our eyes and even question "how" or more like "WHY do you know that?" ... or more importantly "are we there yet?"
The longer I spend away from home, the more I think about everything that I learned in my eighteen years spent under the same roof as my parents. Something in particular that stuck with me that was really important to my dad was quoting poetry. You would say one word and he could quote this several stanza poem. Can you say insanity?
My dad said on multiple occasions that a true proof of intelligence is the ability to quote poetry. Whether it was something simple, like driving to school on a foggy morning, he would quote Carl Sandburg's "Fog."
The fog comes on little cat feet...
- Cal Sandburg
This one was easy to catch on, but my dad once bribed me, my brother, and even my childhood best friend to memorize Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's "Paul Revere's Ride," which by the way, is MUCH longer than the poem I previously just mentioned. This was a historical concept that my dad wanted us to learn about that was offered in this poem.
On the flip side, the poems he quoted also could have been a deeper meaning like when my dad would (of course on a snowy evening) mention Robert Frost's "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening." Now, THIS one was always one of my favorites because of the rhythm and imagery embedded within it.
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
- Robert Frost
Of course, the whole idea of poetry is that each person who reads it takes it in from a different perspective. If you try to discover what the author was truly trying to say, you ruin the art, curiosity, and imagination that it exhibits.
Now that I am older, I regret shutting out the information that my dad would effortlessly reveal to us, but I am grateful for paying attention when I did. I know that this poem by Robert Frost, in particular, will stick with me for a while and will remain one of my favorites not only because my father repeated it so many times, but also there are so many lessons to be learned from it. After all, I really do not think this poem is only talking about the weather.