Nine hundred and twenty seven years ago in lower Madagascar, my Father, Frank Pasquale Guida, told a story that ended with a laugh. Although we don’t know which story it was, here is a collection of his words to share with you. He would always say, “You should send that in to Reader’s Digest,” but I’m happy sharing them with you. He passed away on February 5, 2005 and we miss him very much. And that’s a fact.
“If you know someone who is famous, that’s good. But if he knows you, that's better!
QUOTES FROM MY FATHER
Brother Ed tells this story: I stopped by Dad’s house and noticed he was having a hard time reading the paper. I asked him “Where are your new glasses?” He put down the paper and stated, with disgust, “I can’t use the damn things. They make me wet my pants.” I said “WHAT?” “Yea,” he said, “I go the the bathroom, unzip my pants, look down and think, ‘This can’t be mine it’s too big.’ Then I look through the top part of my glasses and I think, ‘This can’t be mine, it’s too small.’ So I put it back in and I wet my pants.” After I stopped laughing, I went into his room and “found” his glasses.
SPEAKING OF GLASSES, Ed reminds me that Dad use to wear his “street cleaner glasses.” They were an old pair that didn’t work very well and “everything I see through them looks like shit.”
“It is always better to have too much than not enough”
“You are what your friends are.”
Bob reminds us of a fellow Dad knew who believed that no matter what he did, it would only build his expectations before failing miserably, leaving him in bitter disappointment. To that end, the fellow never did anything to improve himself or anything around him. Dad summarized this philosophy as, “If you are already sleeping on the floor, you can’t fall out of bed!”
Cousin Nick shares the time he “told Uncle Hanks I read that his 34th Red Bull Division took more enemy-defended hills than any other U.S. Army Division in World War Two. He shrugged like iit was no big deal and said ‘They got a lot of hills in Italy.’ “
As a Pop Warner Football Coach for 45 years, Dad believed that it was important to instill the fun of the game in his kids. “Of course,” Dad would say, “It is more fun to win!”
Dad was not a person to shy away from anything, be it a new experience, travel spot or something to eat. But if he tried something new and it didn’t agree with him, he would be prone to say, “I can now say I’ve done that twice. My First and Last Time.”
Though not original with Dad, Ed reminds us of the aphorism found on Dad’s Refrigerator: “It is better to be rich and healthy than to be poor and sick”
Dad always espoused the coal miner’s theory about life. “Any day above ground is a holiday.”
As a Prisoner of War in WWII, Dad had unfortunate encounters with the carrots on his plate. They were so bug-infested that they wouldn’t sit still when he tried to eat them. For the rest of his life, he would eat his vegetables, but he wouldn’t eat his carrots.
Regardless of that, he always admonished us to eat our carrots. And anything else set before us. I am not certain if such an ailment exists, but if there was anything we didn’t want to eat, we were told, “It’s good for you. It’ll keep your liver from turning black.” We usually ate it and I’ll be doggoned if Dad wasn’t right!
Another dinner-time aphorism we often heard, especially when we weren’t interested in the what was being served, was “Se non mangia, muore!” Translation – “If you don’t eat, you’ll die.” This was usually offered as an observation and not a threat. Regardless, we always cleaned
This is a quote from my Grandma – my Dad’s Mother -which Dad shared with us. Any time anyone would misbehave at the dinner table, Grandma would point the four prongs of the fork and say, “Quattro Buchi.” Simply put – and oh, so clear – the message translates to “Four holes.” (Thanks to family friend Maggie Vinciguerra for the translation and spelling)
Sister-in-law Wendy shared a conversation she had with her Father-in-law more than once, but it doesn’t involve a quote. In fact, it is when he would say nothing at all. “When I would speak with your Dad,” she said, “I always knew he was listening. He would never judge or interrupt, but would sit. And he had a way of holding his right hand in front of him, his thumb touching the first two fingers, that said, ‘I’m listening.’ That mattered a lot to me.”
Dad ran the house. However you felt about it, that’s the way it was. And if you complained that it was unfair, you were reminded that “this is NOT a democracy. It is a dictatorship. And be happy it is a BENEVOLENT dictatorship.”
GUEST: “What’s the name of your dog?”
GUEST: “Diogee? That sounds Italian.”
DAD: “No. Diogee. D-O-G. Diogee.”
If you did something – shined your shoes, built a birdhouse, washed your car – and it was a
good job, Dad would say, “Just like downtown.” I guess they did things real well downtown.
My Father knew every Waitress in the world — provided her name was Agnes. And he never pronounced it “Agnes” – it was always “Ag-a-ness.” And in every circumstance – of which there were many – when he called a Waitress “Agnes,” as in, “Agnes, could I get a glass of water, please?” there was never a hint of offense on her part. I’ve always believed if there is no malice in the heart, there is none in the words.
Andy Morozovsky reminds us of something anyone who was ever part of a team with my Dad knew. Be it a Cub Scout meeting, a Pop Warner Football practice, or any other gathering of boys, he would always welcome then with the greeting of “Good Evening, Gentlemen!” And in the instances when Cheerleaders were present, he would add, with a courteous nod of the head and a turn of the hand, “…and Ladies!”
When traveling with Dad, you were always told to be on the lookout. Be it for a particular address, deer in the road or, when deep in the forest, for Scotch Mellor, the Irish Leprechaun from whom you were to ask three wishes – “Health, Wealth and Happiness.” But Dad never said, “Be on the lookout.” It was always, “Keep your eyeballs peeled.” I have never understood that phrase. It doesn’t stop me from repeating it to Sami and Chase, but I have never understood it.
Bob remembers Dad’s view on the proper way to raise your child. “If you want your kids raised right, send ’em to the neighbors. They always know better.”
Not one to suffer fools gladly, Dad would be heard to comment, “That guy must have two livers.” When asked why, he would explain, “Well, when God was handing out brains, he was so stupid he got in the liver line twice.”
However, someone that dumb was not to be confused with a “Babaluk.” I am not sure if this word is original with Dad or is of Italian origin. A minimal search through the innernets came up with nothing. But a Babaluk – and the spelling of this is up for discussion, however the pronouciation is not (“BAA Baa Luke”) – is someone who is not intentionally a goof-off, but somehow manages to come off that way. He may be a genius who does dumb things (*ahem* see LIVE AND LEARN elsewhere on this website) or someone who is not very bright and for whatever reason, isn’t going to do something about it. Perhaps the best example of this word for someone who has not experienced it is in the movie SANDLOT. The character Smalls is a Babaluk, as in “You’re killing me, Smalls.”
Whenever Dad would go to pay the bill – be it at a restaurant, for a ticket to the game, or wherever – he would always open his wallet and tell the cashier, “Look at these cards — I’m a veteran, a senior citizen, and a member of AAA. There MUST be a discount in there somewhere!”
A favorite phrase of Dad’s was, “You’re looking well!” The joke is that he would say it while talking to someone on the telephone. Not a video-phone or on Skype, but a regular rotary dial/push button telephone. He once got a wrong number at his house, but told the young-sounding, female caller, “That’s okay, pretty girl.” She giggled and said, “How do you know I’m pretty?” Dad said, “I have one of those picture telephones,” to which the girl gasped loudly and hung up!
Mike says that “one of my favorite quotes among the million I have heard is ‘watch out for a guy who plays golf with his wife – he’ll do other stupid shit’.”
Which reminds me of the warning to stay away from large rental trucks on the highway. “You see the guy driving that truck?” he’d say. “That guy rented that truck and has no idea how to drive it.” This has been proven to me when I have been that guy driving the rental truck.
Dad was not a vengeful or spiteful person. But, as Bob reminds us, he stood by his principals and would not back down from a challenge. “You come pissin’ at me, you better be ready to get wet.”
Dad was an avid hunter, mostly of game birds like pheasant, ducks, etc. While at home, doves would come into the yard to take advantage of the bird feeder he always kept well stocked. He would point to these doves and declare, “Here you are in my front yard and I have to drive two hours to go shoot your cousin!”
At a later hospital visit, the doctor did not have good news. Dad asked, “I was planning on buying a new toaster, Doc. Do you think that’s a good idea?” The doctor smiled and said, “Yes, go ahead a get a new toaster.” Dad then asked, “Okay, but here’s the real question. Should I get the extended warranty?”
This is more a story about Dad than a quote by him. But it’s my website, so I can bend the rules. Cousin Laura commented, after reading these quotes, “Yes, I’ve used a few of those on my family and my athletes as well. I never forget that he always included me in all the sports and never let me being a girl matter.”
For obvious reasons, this is one I have used often:
“Even the Devil can quote Scripture”
For more on a practice called “proof texting,” which is choosing the Scripture you want to prove a point, check out the introduction to the sermon “It’s On the Money” at
Dad is a proud WWII Veteran, who served mostly in Europe and North Africa. A book could be written on those adventures alone. But back on the home front, we would be somewhere – usually a tourist haunt, like the Golden Gate Bridge – and he would hear someone speaking German, invariably a man who was about the same age as us, his own children. Dad would look at the fellow and say to us, “You know that kid’s father? Good thing he ducked.”
If someone was telling a rambling story and felt the need to say, “Well, to make a long story short…”, Dad would quickly interject, “Too late!”