Four Sayings from My Dad

My Dad in Oregon, 1937
My Dad in Oregon, 1937

W.J. Astore

We tackle heavy subjects at this site, but occasionally we throw in a change of pace.  My Dad was a fount of homespun wisdom and sayings.  Three of them immediately spring to mind. “Water seeks its own level,” meaning (for him) that you don’t have to coddle talented kids—they’ll find their own path in life. “The peaches don’t drop too far from the tree,” meaning kids are often a lot like their parents, even when (especially when) they take pains to deny it.  And “The cream rises to the top.”

That last one is less than obvious to today’s generation.  In these days of homogenized milk, many people have no experience skimming the cream from the top of a glass bottle or bucket of milk.  But my father did.  He recounts his experience in a short anecdote he titled, “A full mess cup,” when he was in the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1937:

We were in a rest area [in Oregon] when the pickup truck loaded with five gallon cans of fresh milk came in.

I was first in line with my mess cup.  I guess it held more than a pint.  Those days milk wasn’t homogenized.  Being first my cup was filled with 100% cream.  Who thought of fat and cholesterol in those days?  What a taste treat.

Sometimes it pays to be first in line, especially when you can skim the cream from the top.

My father’s fourth saying?  It’s one of my favorites: “The empty barrel makes the most noise.”  I think of this whenever I encounter blowhards — someone like Donald Trump, perhaps?