An Alabama Dad’s Timeless Wisdom Found in A Long-Lost Letter in Dusty, Old Briefcase
Doug Pittman “Daddy-O” from New Brockton, Alabama was a big man. Not in stature. In that way he was average. But in every other way, he was large. In his personality, service, and his love for his family and others, he was a giant. You never had to guess what he was thinking. He was a good friend. He was married to the same woman, Juliana, for over fifty years. He was a veteran and a self-proclaimed golf champion. He would do whatever it took to help you if he loved you, and he loved most. He came from that great generation where wisdom was plentiful and hard-earned. Where if you wanted something, you worked for it, and if it broke, you fixed it.
He tried to share his wisdom with those around him, and many would say he succeeded. In today’s world wisdom like his is rare. Mr. Pittman left this world three years ago. Cancer takes the best of the best. He’s missed, and his wisdom is maybe missed the most.
This week his daughter Patti shared a true treasure on her Facebook page. It was a letter that Doug had written to his college-aged son, Bo, 24 years ago. Patti found it while cleaning out an old briefcase that belonged to her father. The briefcase was nothing special, filled with old military papers, but at the bottom was the treasure of his wisdom. The letter contained a list of 24 things he felt his son should know. She felt that her Dad was speaking to all of them, years after his passing, and the week of Father’s Day. “This letter was perfect in so many ways for my family, especially my brother,” Patti said. Her father gave them that treasured wisdom at a time when it’s needed most.
- Never be the first to break a family tradition.
- Don’t let a little dispute injure a great friendship.
- Never laugh at anyone’s dreams
- Remember that no time spent with your Mom and Dad is ever wasted.
- Accept a breath mint if someone offers you one.
- Rehearse a joke before telling it.
- Once in a while, invite the person in line behind you to go ahead of you.
- Never be photographed holding a beer or cocktail glass.
- Do your homework and know your facts. But remember, it is passion that persuades.
- Don’t be so concerned with your rights that you forget your manners.
- Don’t dismiss a good idea simply because you don’t like the source.
- When you say, “I’m sorry,” look the person in the eye.
- Give people more than they expect, and do it cheerfully.
- Someone will always be looking at you as an example of how to behave. Don’t let them down.
- Overestimate your travel time by 15 percent.
- Never say anything uncomplimentary about your family in the presence of others.
- No matter how old you get, hug and kiss your mother whenever you greet her.
- Remember that everyone is influenced by kindness
- Phone home if you are going to be more than 20 minutes late.
- If you’re away from home and hear church bells, think of 3 people who love you.
- Pray, there is immeasurable power in it.
- Avoid using the word “impacted” unless you’re describing wisdom teeth.
- TRUST in God.
- Call your Daddie.
Don’t be so concerned with your rights that you forget your manners. That’s something a few of us need to hear. In today’s society, we have become so used to hiding behind our screens we have forgotten that there is someone on the other end of that tweet, or that photo, or that post. Someone with feelings. Someone with children. Someone with dreams and struggles that you may never understand. So, don’t get so caught up in what you think you deserve, get caught up in what you can do to give someone else the respect they deserve.
Pray, there is immeasurable power in it. I need to say this one louder for the people in the back. There is immeasurable power in being able to speak to the God who has immeasurable power. We, as His children, have a line to him that’s never busy, that never has a bad signal, and that never dies. He wants to hear from you, and He values the time you spend with Him because he is a good father.
Sorry to break rule number 22, Daddy-O, but I think this list “impacted” several folks today, including me.
Pictures of the actual letter Patty found that Daddy O wrote to her brother some 25 years ago.