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Thanks, Dad

 Through teenage egos and gritted teeth, we painfully endured what he clearly considered advice. His tragically unhip, woefully out of touch, completely irrelevant advice. Advice that we could do without, thank you, but we’d humor him anyway, even though that advice obviously didn’t apply to us. Until it did — exactly as he knew it would. Proving to us that, sigh, Dad was right all along.

Today, BBR celebrates Dad — the unforgettable memories and lasting words of wisdom that helped us to get where we are today. Below are words from the heart to our fathers — whom you can see here in a gallery featuring some of our favorite photos.

Cathi Pavy: More than words, it has always been my dad’s actions that inspire me. At 16 he was living on his own, by 18 he joined the Navy and soon thereafter became a submariner during the Korean War, even though he exceeded the height limit. Shortly after the military, he married my mother and became a dad on the same day, taking on the role of father to her two sons my brothers, who were only 1 and 2 years of age. He saved half of his paycheck every month even though he had five children to feed. He became a father for the sixth time at the age of 47 when my little sister Meghan was born. (Yep you guessed it, he’s a great Catholic and goes to church Monday through Friday and of course on Sunday.) Although he’s knocking on 80’s door, it’s not surprising to find him climbing on a roof or demolishing a wall of brick — he really can outwork any young man. Dad, aka John Dooley, is an active volunteer, a master carpenter, an avid fisherman, a great man, father and husband who is centered and focused, not on his age or phase in life, but rather on living to the best of his ability every single day. I’m blessed to call him Dad.

Mallory Gauthier: When I think of Dad, I think of LSU Tiger Football; Motown music; laughter; a good glass of red wine; golf and Oakbourne Country Club; more laughter; his uncanny ability to create nicknames for virtually everyone and everything; and his unconditional love for his family and friends. He has been by my and my sister’s sides for EVERY important moment in our lives, as has my Mom. He has taught me a lot about life, and I am happy to call him not only my Dad, but also my friend. Happy Father’s Day, Dad!

Sheree Comeaux: One thing that my dad taught me, that I still do to this day, is to check my mirrors when I’m driving. He taught me to drive and he constantly told me to use my mirrors to watch for the other crazies on the road. :)

Bria Wheeler: My dad is truly one of the wisest people I know, and he’s given me lots of advice over the course of my life. The best advice he has ever given me is to always treat every person with respect, no matter the circumstances. As a child, he constantly reminded me to practice good manners and to treat others how I expect to be treated.

Lauren Ducote: The biggest lesson I have learned from my dad is one that we assume is attained at a young age, only to realize that most adults have never really mastered — the art of listening. Whether it was because I talked too much, or because I always seemed to interrupt him when he was giving me life advice, my dad taught me that listening carefully and completely can be a simple tool in successful relationships, our education and careers, and even for ourselves.

Sara Ashy: My dad passed away unexpectedly almost five years ago, but much of his fatherly advice still guides my day-to-day actions. My dad believed in hard work, honoring your word and saving for the future. He used to tell me no matter what you earn, you can save some of it. And to honor your word no matter what. If you ever borrow money from someone, pay it back. Even if it takes years to do it.

Eddie Talbot: My dad isn’t big on sage advice, but he always took my brother and me hunting and fishing.

Julie Gauthier: I’ve been keeping a list of my dad’s superpowers: • He can fix anything with a few tools and duct tape. • He can watch the Saints lose and still have a great Sunday. • He can park anything. I once saw him back into a space while driving a motorhome pulling a jeep pulling a boat. • He can kill anything that moves with just his eyes. Ok, maybe only with a gun and maybe only animals like deer and ducks. • He can withstand television volume greater than any normal human. In fact, he seems to enjoy it. • He can operate any vehicle under any conditions. I’ve seen him drive a rental car through the mountains in a blizzard and pull a huge trailer through downtown Washington, DC during rush hour. • He has never done anything hugely embarrassing for which he will be mocked forever. (Yet.) • He can throw any ball, play any sport and perform any task—just ask him. • He’s been in business with his brothers for over 30 years and still genuinely likes them. • He raised me, and the only thing he lost was his hair. “He didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.” —Clarence Budington Kelland

Cherie Hebert: Thanks to my dad, Larry Johnson, I know every word to all of Fats Domino’s biggest hits. Ain’t that a Shame, I’m Walkin’ to New Orleans, Blueberry Hill, the list goes on. My dad played the honky-tonk piano on an antique upright that we had in our house and cranked out his favorite Fats Domino songs for every family occasion. He can pull off a very accurate imitation of Fats. Every holiday involved us all singing (and dancing) around the piano. My dad’s playing is the memory that I hold dearest to me. All the times spent around that piano were pure joy. Daddy still plays occasionally, and was happy to entertain a group of friends three years ago at his 70th birthday party.

Rodney Hess: One of the lasting things my father told me wasn’t a lesson of how I should live my life; rather, it was a realization he came to about his own role as a father. He said, “When I was growing up, I would take a lawnmower apart and put it back together just to see how it worked. I always wanted a son who shared this passion with me, but you never showed the same interest. What I realized too late is that having a son who was his own person, one whom I could take pride in, was truly important. I’m proud that you’re that person.”

Tim Landry: Throughout my life, and to this day, my father, Tim Sr., has exemplified for me what a real man looks like. And it’s just as much about owning an Allen wrench set as it is about owning up to mistakes. It’s one part self-sufficiency and one part selflessness. It’s being assertive, but knowing when to listen. “I’m becoming my father,” isn’t a phrase that makes me cringe. We need more men like him in the world, and thanks to the lessons he’s taught me, I’m proud to say I’m finding my way there.

Abigail Ricks: I’ve learned many lessons from my dad, and I’m sure there are some that haven’t even fully resonated in me just yet. But after giving this some thought, I think the prevailing lesson (at least my favorite) that I’ve learned from my dad is one he taught me by example: to find the humor in all situations. Laugh at everything, especially yourself. Consider this at the simplest level. If you do something embarrassing, and you can laugh at yourself, people will laugh WITH you, not AT you. This isn’t always possible, but it’s a much better option even if you’re faking it. And the more absurd the situation, the funnier it really is. This photo was taken at my wedding, literally THE MOMENT immediately following my dad’s not-so-gracious loss of balance over the train of my wedding gown. He did catch himself before plummeting completely to the ground, but it took several boisterous stumbles to save him. And for some background information, my Dad is normally very composed. He served in the Army and is a retired FBI agent. He’s not the guy who trips over things. He’s the guy who shaves twice a day and neatly tucks in his t-shirts. So let’s back up to one minute before the photo was taken. I was a VERY nervous bride. Of course, the magnitude of the moment was surreal and amazing, but I was seriously considering the logistics of where I would vomit should I lose control of my nerves. I remember thinking, “Ok, I could dart behind that fern and maybe no one would notice?” But when my Dad took a tumble and stole the limelight for a second, I was brought back to what made that moment so great. First of all, instead of being embarrassed, I (and everyone else) was holding back uncontrollable laughter. We all breathed a sigh of relief, and like magic the proverbial edge was gone. We were there to celebrate a momentous occasion, and we did just that. I’m glad the story was captured perfectly in a photo, so I can laugh out loud every time I look at all of our faces. Life lesson: just laugh.