Words of Wisdom from Southern Fathers

The best Father’s Day advice, from Garden & Gun readers

Photo: Courtesy of the author

Social media editor Lydia Mansel and her father, Rusty, in Emerald Isle, North Carolina.

Sometimes you just have to admit when you’re wrong.

That’s one of the important lessons my father taught me, though not, perhaps, in the way he might think.

Life has shown me that my dad usually has the right idea—when it comes to arriving to the airport at least two hours before a flight, making sure my car’s gas tank is never too low, and adding to a savings account and 401K (still working on that one, Dad).

Because no matter how many times I’ve rolled my eyes, I know he’s right. Most dads usually are.

And here at Garden & Gun in honor of Father’s Day, we wanted to pay tribute to fathers with their endless words of wisdom.

So we reached out to our readers, asked for the best pieces of advice their fathers passed down to them, and compiled some of our favorites.



Look both ways before you cross the street; don’t pick up any wooden nickels; and call me when you get where you are going.
Jason  F.


Check your oil.


Leave a job in such a way they will hire you back.


Always have Vienna sausages and crackers on the boat, just in case.


Know how to make white gravy.



Never trust the government. Stay away from the honky tonk. Stop chasin’ the mosquito spray truck… you might get lost in the fog.
Roger B.


Carry your money in the front pocket of your jeans (especially at the county fair).
Kathryn B.


Never shirk on the pour, unless it’s for Uncle Rex.


Speak with respect to your elders. “Yes ma’am” and “Yes sir” are spoken with conviction, not just lip service.


Measure twice and cut once. Anything worth doing is worth doing right the first time, or by God, you’ll do it over.


Never say anything negative about anyone because most people are usually doing the best they can.


Quit trying to hit a flop shot. Only Phil or Tiger can do that crap!


No person is beneath you… Kindness, regardless of where luck or fate or where the roulette wheel of life has placed them, is what every person deserves.


Be honest no matter how bad it hurts.


Debt is the ugliest four-letter word.



You put your name on EVERYTHING you do—whatever it is, make sure you give it your best.


You can find humor and/or grace in almost any situation, even when the joke’s on you. If that doesn’t work, break out the peanut butter and Saltines.


With a few questions and a good listening ear, everyone has a story to tell and is worth getting to know.


“I don’t care what everyone else is doing, that’s not how we roll!”


Never put anything in writing that you don’t want to see on the front page of the NY Times.



Always respect the river. (Many metaphors to unpack there.)


Quality time spent with your children is priceless. It will come back to you. Pass it along.


Never build a financial fence you can’t climb over.


If a snake falls in the boat, don’t panic.
Martha D.