None of our extended family was allowed to attend my granddaughter Carolyn’s recent drive-by graduation from Ridgefield High School. Instead, her mother texted us all asking that we make signs of congratulations, take photos of each of our respective families with the signs, and send them to her.
Everybody responded with their own unique family signs. I know Carolyn was delighted. And I was pleased too, especially with our daughter’s family sign which included a familiar encouraging quote of my husband’s “Aim high and do well.”
That was only one of the pieces of sage advice they all still remember him dispensing so often that they quote him regularly. Other nuggets include: “Winners run with winners, losers run with losers” and “You’re as good as anyone else and better than most.”
He also often reminded them of Louis Pasteur’s advice that “Luck favors the prepared mind” and Edmund Burke’s keen observation that “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
This is the first Father’s Day he won’t be with us to personally repeat his advice. But when he passed away last October, the whole family brainstormed to compile a long list of his “sayings,” some sage, some sassy, and several his sly tongue-in-cheek Irish wit. These they scattered among the photos on the picture boards at his wake.
Nuggets of advice: Life is Short. Manana never comes. It’s only money. Never say never. Don’t say I can’t. Better to be seen than viewed.
On meeting strangers: Where are you folks from? I’m Mr. Phyllis Donovan. You can call me Mr. Wonderful. I’m the Night Mayor of Meriden. Nice to be seen.
On family philosophy: Family, family, family. Don’t fill up on bread. Mum’s the word. Load up. If you can’t see the camera, it can’t see you. .
Life with Father: “Hide that clunker (large handbag containing a lot of his valuables), it’s spoiling my picture.”
“I have a great face for radio,” (After serving many years on public television.)
“I’m not the governor but I’ll pardon you.”(If someone says “Pardon me.”)”.
“You’re always telling me what you’re not going to do.”
“You love those cats more than you do me.”
“If I had my life to live over, I’d live over a delicatessen.”
“...and miles to go before I sleep.” – Robert Frost, (his favorite poet.)
I am sure that today, every one of my children and granchildren will be fondly remembering their father or grandfather, Frank Donovan, who they lost since last Father’s Day. He was a fun and informative personality who will most certainly have a continuing strong influence on their lives.
He certainly was on mine.