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“That’s what you would have done, right?”

In honor of Father’s Day, I wanted to share with you some funny “Porch Time with Daddy” stories that our family howls over, year after year. After every mini snippet, conclude the story with my dad’s favorite go-to phrase, “That’s what you would have done, right?”

Katie Hart Smith

Dad and cars…oil and water.

Dad is fastidious about having a clean car. On any given morning before venturing out – Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter – Dad insists on having a clean car and can be found elbows deep in a sudsy bucket of water with a sponge in one hand and a garden hose in the other cleaning his Cadillac, Oldsmobile, Ford, or Buick. In the 1970’s and 80’s, when white walled tires were all the rage, Dad wanted to be sure his family car tires remained “showroom bright”, crisp and white. So, he sprayed oven cleaner on them. Presto! They were like new, until he drove the car and his tires kept bursting and blowing out on the highways and byways. Why? He learned that that wasn’t such a great idea; oven cleaner eats through crusty burnt food, grease, grime, and through rubber.

We once leased an Oldsmobile 98. The key word here is “once”. Dad really wanted the black vinyl roof to shine and have that “showroom” quality of sheen on a permanent basis. So, he painted the roof with black, glossy enamel paint. Unfortunately, it baked under the hot sun and flaked after it rained. When he took it back to the dealership, needless to say, he had a hard time explaining the peeling rooftop!

Dad and home improvement projects…oil and water.

My husband, Jeff, and I have a catch phrase that we use when something in the house breaks. For major projects, we aren’t DIY people, we’re “HID” kind of folks – hire it done. A trained professional makes sure the project gets done or the problem gets solved right, the first time. Why? I have watched Dad try to fix things around the house and have learned invaluable life lessons. While Dad’s tool kit consists of super glue, duct tape and rubber bands, he has such self-confidence in his “fix it” skills until…

How do you keep your grout lines white and clean? Get on our hands and knees and paint them with a tiny paint brush and white paint. How do you keep your screen porch screens from greying? Spray paint them white and have your two daughters unclog any paint-congealed holes with toothpicks. How do you keep your glasses lenses from falling out of the frames? Superglue them in place, watch the glue run down your prescription lenses, and then replace them at your local optometrist’s office. How do you expediently rid your home of the once live, brittle, dry Christmas tree? Shove it into the den fireplace, watch the sparks pop, flames lick up the mantel, and black smoke roll while Mom shuts the pocket doors, ushers my sister and I out the front door, and frantically calls 9-1-1. Speaking of fireplaces, how do you clean the chimney? Put approximately fifteen bricks in a sheet. Tie the end of the sheet with a rope, climb on the roof with your fifteen year-old nephew, and together, lower the brick-laden linen down and up the chimney. Voilà!

Home is where the heart is.

These are just a handful of the funny stories we still laugh over when we’re all together. Love, funny stories, adventures, and laughter are Dad’s key to making our family life anything but dull and boring. Dad has an incredible caring heart and has passed it along to my sister and I. While he attended college at Indiana University, he sang in the Christian Church, volunteered to work with handicapped children, and played the piano in a bar, much to his Grandmother Bausback’s chagrin. In her eyes, “Two good deeds countered the other.”

Dad continues to model and practice his Christian values. He has volunteered countless hours to ministering to those in prison, visits the infirmed, and plays the organ or piano at church or for the elderly at nursing homes. While he spent his career working for the pharmaceutical industry, and we moved around a lot when my sister, Julie, and I were young, he always made sure we established our-selves amongst our new church home and family.

I wish my dear father, Joseph Edward Hart, a very Happy Father’s Day. Thank you for showing Julie and I, “home is where the heart is.”

About Katie Hart Smith
Katie Hart Smith’s column, “From the Heart,” touches the heart, inspires, entertains, and speaks to one’s heart and soul. With over 20 years of experience, Smith has written for a wide array of audiences. To learn more about this Southern author, visit