Second-Hand Daddy

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Second-Hand Daddy

By Lisa Scarbrough

As kids, we all learn our values from our parents. We learn common courtesies, how to be a part of society, and ultimately, how to survive on our own. If we have mastered these basics, then our parents did their job.

From the time I was two weeks old, my father took to teaching me everything he could about boats and the water, and by age three, I could steer the boat while he stood on the bow and pointed in a direction. It was our love for boats and the water that bonded us, and that bond got to be tested when I was 11.

When most people decide to retire, they take up hobbies. My parents bought a dilapidated marina on Tybee Island. I still remember the first day they took me there. I was so upset to learn this is where we would be living, and I cried as I spent an entire day digging up trash going back 10 or 20 years.

We spent a year and a half working on that property until we finally moved on my 13th birthday. We lived on a boat that did not have air conditioning, heating or hot water, and the dock was a steep climb at low tide. My dad would drive me to school each morning in his 1972 Volkswagon Thing that he had bought second hand from a buddy, and our two dogs would ride in the back seat. Every afternoon he would pick me up, and we’d get right back to work at the marina. I became very skilled at answering telephones, taking reservations, running the bar, and talking to customers. While most of my friends were out at the beach, I was working on the docks, learning all about the ways of life from pirates, shrimpers and waitresses from the “bad bar” at the other end of the island. Because we were a family and we had to make ends meet first, I was not paid for my work, but did get to earn tips from the bar patrons and tourists. I managed to save enough from the tips to make a big purchase at the end of the summer: my first CD player.

imageGoing off to high school didn’t change either. I was still expected to come back to the marina after school (or soccer practice) and work. I did homework in the bar in between serving customers, grabbing lines down on the dock, or fueling up shrimp boats getting ready for the next day’s work. It was probably not the way I would have chosen to spend my high school days, but I would appreciate the work ethic my father was teaching me later in life.

When my Sweet Sixteen birthday came, we didn’t have the money for a country club party like my mom wanted. Instead, towels were thrown over all the liquor containers and the bar was closed for just my friends and me. We had a great sound system as we played trivia and board games and danced. After my friends went home, my mom came to my room and asked me to come into the living room (we had moved into a little house on the property by this time, though it still lacked heat and a/c, and only had about 3 minutes of hot water per shower). My dad was standing up next to something big with a towel thrown over it. My mom was half smiling as he removed it to reveal my very first TV. It may as well have been Christmas to me as it was the biggest gift they had ever given me. My mom half apologized that it had come from a pawn shop, but I didn’t care. True, we had no cable so I would only get 3 channels depending upon which way the wind was blowing that night, but my parents had done something special for me that I knew had not been easy for them to do.

As I went on through high school and college, I became really comfortable with second-hand items. My dad outfitted my dorm room for me with a small TV, VCR, fridge and microwave, and even my first apartment had an old couch of ours and the bedroom furniture that had been mine since I was in 4th grade (and is still used in my master bedroom today). But I never once felt that I had less than others because my stuff wasn’t brand new. Instead, I took pride in what I had, making it all last as much as I possibly could. It actually broke my heart to finally sell off that 16th birthday TV two years ago when I moved, nearly 15 years later.

This Father’s Day, I get to celebrate with my dad as he enjoys being a grandfather for the 7th time. I watch him playing with my son and pray that Ian will grow up to know that material things are really immaterial, that it is the experiences of life that matter most. I thank God every day that my father was a strong enough man to teach me that lesson first. Happy Father’s Day, Daddy.

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Reader Comments:

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I HAVE THE SAME BIRTHDAY 1/19/47 AS U AND I LOVE BUTTER.I TRIED ALMOST ALL OF YOUR RECEIPES AND LOVE THEM ALL.I HAVE BEEN DYING 2 WRITE 2 YOU FOR A LONG TIME.I AM ALSO DIABETIC, BUT NEVER WATCHED MYSELF.MY DAUGHTER GAVE ME A KIDNEY IN 03.I HAD AN UNCLE WHO LIVED IN SAVANNAH AND LOVED IT.I LIVE IN NEW YORK AND WOULD LOVE TO MOVE THERE.I WANT TO GO TO YOUR RESTAURANT AND MEET YOU AND YOUR FAMILY.I LIVED IN TARPON SPRINGS,FLA AND HAD A GREEK RESTAURANT. IT WAS HARD WORK.IF YOU EVER WANT A GREEK RECEIPE PLEASE DONT HESITTATE TO CALL ME.MY NUMBER IS 516-360-7738 I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU.

By STELLA ANGELIS on January 17, 2013

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My Dad was a baker. I remember him making a red velvet cake by scratch. Just throwin it all together. I love to cook and bake. I try to create. I guess I got that from him

By Marian on June 19, 2011

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Lisa your story is heartwarming and so very sweet. I could picture everything about Tybee Island (our favorite vacation spot.) No matter how old I am, my Dad will always be my hero. He (and my Mom) have always stood by me through every good and bad choice I've made. When I became pregnant my senior year of High School my Dad gave me all the choices in the world. But he always knew what choice I'd make. My Dad stood behind me, beside me and in front of me to protect me all my life. He is the best Dad and Poppa anyone could ask for. Just ask my son and daughter. Happy Fathers Day Dad. Love you always, Terri.

By Terri Kaestner on June 19, 2011

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Great memories, Lisa. Shows why you are the wonderful caring person you are today. Ian is a lucky boy to have such a great story and a special Grandather in his life. God Bless!

By Rose on June 19, 2011

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My DAD is in heaven. If roses grow in heaven Lord, then pick a bunch for me. Place them in my Dad's arms and tell him they're from me. Tell him that I love and miss him, and when he turns to smile, place a kiss upon his cheek and hold him for awhile. Happy Father's Day, Dad! I love and miss you.... ~Reba Paige~

By rebecca p ritchie on June 19, 2011

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My DAD is in heaven. If roses grow in heaven Lord, then pick a bunch for me. Place them in my Dad's arms and tell him they're from me. Tell him that I love and miss him, and when he turns to smile, place a kiss upon his cheek and hold him for awhile. Happy Father's Day, Dad! I love and miss you.... ~Reba Paige~ ~Lisa~ Your story were amazing.. smile

By reba paige on June 19, 2011

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I truly enjoyed this blog and wish some other people could read it and figure out that the best life has nothing to do with money. And, the ones that are ALWAYS BORED. I grew up on a farm. My Dad was a very good farmer and I helped with a lot of it. Never hurt myself but was taught a good work ethic and that being bored was not in my vocabulary. Life could always be a lot harder than most kids have it today.

By Vicki Sawyers on June 19, 2011

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paula that was agreat story love you you are the greates

By mary on June 19, 2011

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Love your cook books,food etc.

By Helga guttman on June 17, 2011

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What a wonderful blog post. I enjoyed reading this! Very nice Lisa smile

By Candy on June 16, 2011

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hey Lisa. You're story is amazing. i have never met my biological father so I still hold onto some hope of meeting him...in heaven grin

By Jess on June 15, 2011

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WONDERFUL~~~ it was like going back to my childhood.~~~~~ Material things are NOTHING compared to the life lessons of HARD WORK!! My parents started out with nothing and ended up in there retirement very well off. Happy Father's Day to your Daddy and a job well done!! So proud to call you my Friend!

By Andrea Lepinske on June 15, 2011

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The article gave me chill bumps! Especially love the picture at the bottom!! Love that look of "connection"!! Thanks for your blog posts!!

By Anonymous on June 15, 2011

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What a wonderful read! Thanks for sharing some intimate memories with all of us. Your story makes me miss my dad, enjoy him while he is around, he sounds fantastic!

By Heather Lemmer on June 15, 2011

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