The vast majority of people in my life currently never got to meet my dad, Terry Michael Covel (nice Irish name on a nice Jewish boy, eh?). He died when I was 15, but I’ve always said he gave me a whole lifetime of love and advice in those 15 years. Here are a few of his quotes, most of which I know he didn’t make up. He was quite fond of ascerbic platitudes. Happy Father’s Day, Daddy!
If a Covel daughter complained “that’s not fair,” she would get:
If life was fair, there wouldn’t be wheelchairs (tough sentiment to hear when you’re 8) or if a frog had wings, he wouldn’t bump his ass a’hoppin. (Although I never heard it, my mom said his adult version was: If my aunt had balls, she’d be my uncle.)
If we wanted something that wasn’t possible:
If wishes were horses then beggars would ride.
If we said we “didn’t mean to,” we got:
The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
Here are some things he taught me without words:
When going up a steep hill, never get off the bike.
As tough as the going is, the load is more cumbersome pushing it than riding it.
Stop at scenic views.
We never flew. Every time we went to my grandparents in Florida, then N. Carolina, we went by car. We stopped at every scenic view to take pictures. EVERY scenic view, till we begged him not to. Even then it was every other. They were beautiful, and worth stopping for.
Service, to country and community.
He was ROTC in college, even knowing that would send him to Vietnam (I was born while he was there, he met me when I was seven months old). He served on the board of the community access cable channel, even though we didn’t have cable. He was appointed to and served on the Columbus School Board, but was a lousy politician and wasn’t elected to serve a full term after.
Wit disarms people.
Keep confidences that don’t need to incur your spouse’s wrath.
In college, I was watching a movie with my mom, and I complained about the fake blood. “Remember when I put my hand through the back door’s window? I didn’t get a scratch.” My mom said I never did such a thing, and I realized he had never told her.
So I told her:
My sister had locked me out of the house, I was pounding on the back door, and my hand missed the door and went through the glass. When Daddy came home, he went to hardware store (no Home Depot then), got a pane of glass, and installed it before my mom came home. Never told her.
After she heard this story, she shook her fist at the ceiling, smiling.
“Wait,” I said, “did Daddy tell you about the couch-bed?” “What about the couch-bed?” Well, when I was in the sixth grade or so, my friends and I were jumping on the couch-bed, and we broke a corner spring. Daddy rigged it up with a wire hanger. Never told her. Love that man.
If you have a memory of my dad, please leave it below – I’d love to hear it and share with his grandkids.