By Tim Smith
I’ve been reading the prior posts on this topic while deciding what I could contribute. Since we recently celebrated Thanksgiving, I’ve found myself in a reflective mood. Most people think of an inheritance as something material or monetary, but it has a different meaning for me.
I think one of the most important things I inherited from my father was a strong work ethic, and an equally strong sense of tolerance. My dad grew up during the Great Depression, in a southern Ohio town that had a “right side” and a “wrong side” of the tracks. If you’re familiar with that era, you know what that means. He never bought into that snobbish class nonsense, though, and he always said “People are people.” I took that with me when I embarked on my own professional career.
From my mother, I inherited a sense of fair play, especially when I was younger and the other kids may not have played by the rules. She was always telling me to turn the other cheek, and look at things from the other person’s point of view. Perhaps their home life wasn’t as happy as mine, or they didn’t get to enjoy some of the things I did. That lesson stayed with me, too.
I also inherited a love of reading and literature from both of them. My mother was a movie buff, and I became one, too. Many times, we’d watch a classic film and she’d point out that it was based on a book. I’d find it at the library and after reading it, I usually sought out other titles by the same author. This introduced me to a wonderland of fantasy and imagination, and influenced my writing.
Another thing I got from both of them was an appreciation of simple pleasures. My brother and I never wanted for much when we were growing up, but the old man made sure we didn’t let it go to our heads. Some of my fondest holiday memories are of the family coming together for a nice dinner and a lot of laughs. It’s still my favorite way to celebrate the major holidays.
A love of travel and exploration was something else I took from my childhood. Vacations may not have involved a plane trip to some exotic locale like they did when I got older, but they were still fun and educational. Summer always included at least one road trip to some part of the country where we had never been before. It exposed me to a lot of different cultures and customs.
I suppose the most important thing I inherited was understanding the true value of friends. I may not have many close friends, but I treasure the ones I do have. I learned early on that everyone can bring something to the table. The fun is in finding out what it is.
Thank you for indulging the nostalgic ramblings of someone who has seen a lot but still has trouble believing most of it.