Daddy’s Lesson One

My dad was not a well-educated man, but his common sense was extraordinary. With a 9th grade education, he raised 5 children of his own and some of my mom’s brothers and sisters as well. He had a few principles that he never deviated from.

One of those principles was: “Do it right the first time.” This sounds like a grade-school admonition to people that give a hoot about service. In my experience, however, very few people remember the simple things. We are all bombarded with 12 step programs and 12 rules for this and the other and we just forget to do the most basic things.

One of my brothers grew up working with Daddy just like I did. He was always in a hurry to finish the task and sometimes took shortcuts in getting there. I used to tease him that you could not build a roof until the walls were up. To which he’d respond by throwing a heavy tool at me or burying my head in the nearest sawdust or builder’s sand pile and saying something that I could never hear because I was at the first aid box looking for a bandaid or cleaning crap out of my ears.

He never did things right the first time and I spent a lot of time fixing his work. He used to “cobble it up”. I never really understood what that meant, but Daddy used to say, “It doesn’t take any longer to do it right than it does to cobble it up.”

Daddy used to say “If it is worth doing, it’s worth doing right”, also.

Common sense here seems to advocate doing it right the first time and not cobbling it up.