FATHER'S DAY ESSAY: The good life

Much can be learned about good living – not only surviving, but also thriving in our tough economy – from my “daddy.”
HUNGRY? Grow enough organic vegetables in a small garden to feed a community (which he often does); seine for fish and skin fifty catfish at a time; learn to cook; raise, slaughter, and cure your own meat.
SAD, FEELING DEPRESSED? Mend a fence, wash a vehicle, get outside and take a walk, share what you have with a neighbor, do an errand for that little ol’ lady down the road, take care of a stray dog or adopt one from a shelter, take a less fortunate relative into your home or on your land without being asked or paid – all with a smile and a sense of humor.
WANT GOOD, CHEAP ENTERTAINMENT? Support local ball teams (Go Northeast Tigers!); play dominoes and Rook with the elderly (at 78, “Dad” is anything but elderly!); construct a birdhouse; go to the coffee shop regularly to hang out with the guys; swap knives; listen to gospel, bluegrass, and country music; or have an Easter egg hunt for church kids.
WORRIED ABOUT THE FUTURE? Join the military; build a dental clinic and repair houses on a mission trip to Honduras (at age 66!); construct a shelter for kids who have to wait for the school bus, often in the rain; conserve, recycle, and save; vote; be a member of the American Legion Honor Guard, so we won’t forget the past; and always, do much more good than harm.
Good provider, master gardener, builder, good-natured comic, veteran, church leader, humanitarian, steadfast friend and relative. A perfect man? No, he’s not perfect, but he’s darn close enough for me to think of my father-in-law, Duncan Gates, as “Daddy” since 1975 when I joined the Gates family and also lost my biological father.
As long as good ol’ country boys survive and city boys and girls emulate and learn from them, we will continue to prevail, good economy or bad. Thanks, Dunk, for loving me like a daughter and living a good life.
About the author: DeLois Loyd Gates grew up in Corinth. She and her husband, Tony, have been married 34 years. She taught English and American literature at Northeast Mississippi Community College for 25 years before retiring in 2005. She enjoys gardening, reading, cooking and spending time with her “adopted” children. The Gateses also have three shelter or rescued dogs – Millie, Lucy and Marina.

DeLois Lloyd Gates