Whole Living Daily

Three Lessons I Learned From My Father

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Henry Jackowski NYC 1981

When my dad passed in 1983, his body was donated to Indiana University Medical School, his alma mater. As my family planned the funeral, it was my job to explain to friends, family, VFW, and the parish priest that there would be no casket and no funeral home because there was no body. In lieu of a burial, family and friends came to the house and to a picnic after the Memorial. At least 100 times in three days I repeated, “there is no body.”

I learned three big lessons from my dad—the biggest of which came as we were on our way to the Memorial Mass.

He’s Always With Me

As we drove to the Church, on the radio were the Mills Brothers singing, “I Ain’t Got Nobody.” On the anniversary of his death in 1992, I paid a street vendor $6.00 for a 1949 English novel titled “Two Worlds & Their Ways.” In it, I found a holy card with a poem titled, “I’m the Daddy of a Nun.” Every day I feel that my Dad is still with me, and I frequently receive signs.

Pick Your Battles Wisely

This is the advice my dad gave me when I left for the convent, which still serves me well. I learned how to pick my battles carefully, when to keep my mouth shut, and not to complain. “If you don’t like it, leave,” he’d tell me on nun visiting day, “but don’t sit there and complain.” Thanks to my dad, my battle scars are precious few and I’m not a whiner.

How to Make the Best BBQ Ribs

This is his recipe, and he shows up in subtle ways whenever these are made:

4 lbs. pork spareribs (cut into 2-rib pieces)

Salt and pepper

1 large onion, coarsely chopped

1 cup brown sugar

¾  cup chili sauce

¼ cup soy sauce

¼ cup Worcestershire sauce

¼ cup dark rum

1 tsp. dry mustard

1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

1 tsp. red pepper flakes

4 garlic cloves, crushed

1 small onion, chopped fine

  1. Wrap ribs with double thickness foil in baking pan. Salt and pepper to taste, scatter coarsely chopped onion on top and bake at 350 for 1 ½ hrs.
  2. Combine remaining ingredients to make sauce.
  3. When ribs are done, drain drippings and cover with BBQ sauce.  Re-wrap and marinate in fridge 2 hrs.
  4. Bake at 350 another 45 min.; or grill 15 min. each side; or slow cook in crock pot 4 hrs.  Divine.

Until next week, think about this:  “Old as she was, she still missed her daddy.” Gloria Naylor

Karol Jackowski, Ph.D., became a nun in 1964. She's also been a college administrator, graduate of New York University, manager of a toy store, author of eight books, painter of religious folk art, and sister to everyone she meets. Please visit her website at KarolJackowski.com.

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Comments (1)

  • AH KARE, SO MANY FOND MEMORIES WORKING IN THE BACK OF THE BAKERY ( DID WE CALL IT THE IRON OVEN ??).GOOD TIMES WITH THE LADIES WHO WORKED AND FOUGHT THERE. IT IS GOOD TO SEE A PIC OF OLE HENRY.
    HOW TRUE, NO MATTER HOW OLD YOU GET, YOU STILL MISS YER DADDY, AND MISSED CHANCES TO SHOW MORE LOVE AND PATIENCE.

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