ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Thumper, God, and the Queen

Updated on January 2, 2018
snakeslane profile image

Verlie Burroughs is a west coast writer from Vancouver Island.

Dad | Source

A Father's Day Story

To commemorate Father's Day I am re-visiting an essay I wrote, for a Journalism course way back when, that takes a humorous look at my Dad's attempt to mold me into a good person.

Thumper was my first real guru. My parents liked his philosophy, and used to quote him outright. It is slightly embarrassing now to realize I learned my first real lesson in etiquette from a Walt Disney character. It was repeated often enough to become a sort of mantra:

"If you can't say something nice, don't say nothin' at all".

That, along with the golden rule: "Children should be seen, and not heard", got me right through adolescence. My parents were proud of my diplomatic abilities. Although I found it difficult not to talk (they called me a chatter box), I always made sure when I did, it was nice.


Girl Guides took care of my niceness for the next few years. (I promised to do my best to do my duty to God, and the Queen.)

God was easily taken care of, I loved the social life of Sunday school (much to my parent's chagrin, as they were not religious) but I had some problems with the Queen business. It was right around this time that Diefenbaker and Pearson had the flag debate. But Girl Guides taught us to keep the flag off the ground no matter what colour it was.

I remember it was around high school that my Dad started talking to me. My allowance went up at that time too, and I knew something had changed.

I was now allowed to be heard. I came up with a lot of wild and crazy theories about life at this stage, but my Dad usually set me straight.

He was a stickler for not questioning authority, and he had a lot of respect for education.

He had grown up a Saskatchewan prairie boy, and the war interrupted his education, after which time his family moved to the coast, and he met Marion. They got married, and proceeded to have five children in a row, and moved to the country so we could grow up natural.

During high school the Viet Nam War was raging. Country Joe and the Fish sang about boys coming home in boxes. I tried to convince my Dad that the war was wrong, but he would have none of it.

"Do you think those people would be running things if they didn't know what they were doing?" he used to say, each time I questioned authority. I must admit I was intimidated by his attitude, but I was going with the flow.

Peace Arch
Peace Arch | Source

University was exciting.

One day we got on a bus to the American border to protest nuclear testing in the Aleutian Islands.

"Stop Amchitka!" We were all wearing our protest buttons and chanting while we blocked traffic at the Peace Arch border crossing.

I saw some 'Yippies' in action that day. Some were writers for the Georgia Straight newspaper. They were loud, and aggressive.

They weren't nice.

After this I quit university to go travelling, and ended up running off to live in the most remote location on the planet I could find, working as a lighthouse keeper with my partner at the time. I thought I could escape the turmoil that was raging around the war. I had somehow become very alienated from my society.

My parents were worried, and upset that I had 'dropped out', but eventually I made my way back. I got a job, and made enough money to return to university where I studied Journalism.

I found hope in the teachings of journalism, so succinctly expressed by press critic Ben Bagdkian: that it is correct to question the sacred cows and the status quo, and to investigate into sensitive areas, even if you have to swim against the tide.

Thanks Thumper, but no thanks.

My Dad listens to me a little more than he used to, but now his favorite line is:

"A little education is a dangerous thing".

Circa 1981

© 2013 Verlie Burroughs


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • snakeslane profile imageAUTHOR

      Verlie Burroughs 

      5 years ago from Canada

      Hi MsDora, nice to see you, Thank you so much!

    • snakeslane profile imageAUTHOR

      Verlie Burroughs 

      5 years ago from Canada

      thelyricwriter, Thank you for the kind and encouraging words. :)

    • snakeslane profile imageAUTHOR

      Verlie Burroughs 

      5 years ago from Canada

      Vinaya, You are so sweet to say all that. Hope you are well and enjoying life!

    • snakeslane profile imageAUTHOR

      Verlie Burroughs 

      5 years ago from Canada

      Dear Eddy, Thank you very much. Sorry so late getting back to you...

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      5 years ago from The Caribbean

      This episode from your childhood is such a pleasant read. Your Dad was and is very wise. Thank you for sharing.

    • thelyricwriter profile image

      Richard Ricky Hale 

      5 years ago from West Virginia

      Snakeslane, voted up, useful, awesome, interesting, and shared. Quite the journey! I wasn't even born yet, possibly not even thought of. Great honor in your appreciation for your dad and a very interesting tale of your life, great to get to know you a little better. Just know, he lives on in this article and always in your heart.

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 

      5 years ago from Nepal

      I was a year old in 1981. (Believe me, I normally don't reveal my birth year). This is beautiful, both in the thematic treatment and writing style. I envey your writing style.

    • Eiddwen profile image


      5 years ago from Wales

      Oh how I loved this gem and here's to so many more hubs for us both to share on here.

      Also voted up and shared.


    • snakeslane profile imageAUTHOR

      Verlie Burroughs 

      5 years ago from Canada

      Ms Peg, You are so generous, thanks again my friend. Will look forward to seeing you on the weekend. I am saving some quality time to read the latest chapters of the Pub!

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      5 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Hi Snakeslane. It's so wonderful to see you publishing such a deeply rich and meaningful essay as this one is. As daughters, we tend to have such an intense love for our Dads and even into adulthood, base many of our choices for partners on the lessons and examples we learned from them. Even when we go the opposite direction they hoped. I can barely believe that your wonderful (and very handsome) Dad has been gone for 30 years. My Dad has only been gone since 2005 and I still deeply miss him, in particular, around Father's Day. This tribute of yours is an enchanting way to keep his memory vibrant. Loved it as much on reading it through again. Hope to see you soon.

    • snakeslane profile imageAUTHOR

      Verlie Burroughs 

      5 years ago from Canada

      Hi always, It is so true, I cannot imagine how tangled up I could have got without the moral compass that my parents provided for guidance, but even with that I got pretty lost on a regular basis!

    • snakeslane profile imageAUTHOR

      Verlie Burroughs 

      5 years ago from Canada

      Hey Genna, Your Dad had that similar sense of humor that I'm beginning to realize must be one of the key survival skills of fatherhood. Thanks so much for your generous comments. The lighthouse keeping was amazing, we were relief keepers, filling in for the regulars when they went on vacation. We lived nearby (a few hours walk away) in a log cabin. Really isolated.

    • snakeslane profile imageAUTHOR

      Verlie Burroughs 

      5 years ago from Canada

      Mar, Thank you...It is so sweet to find your positive response to this, and everything I do. Your support is encouraging!

    • snakeslane profile imageAUTHOR

      Verlie Burroughs 

      5 years ago from Canada

      Hi drbj, As long as there's a partee in a little negative repartee, I'm in! Of course you've got to pick your negative friends carefully (make sure they don't know any of your other negative friends). Thank you good dr for making this house call...

    • snakeslane profile imageAUTHOR

      Verlie Burroughs 

      5 years ago from Canada

      Peg, Thank you, it is great to see your comment, sorry taken so long to get back to you. I wanted to celebrate Father's Day without the sadness that always seems to surround me (my Dad's been gone 30 years!). All these life 'events' feel like they just happened yesterday...Sometimes I feel like I'm still 12. I wonder if I would do anything different if I knew then what I know now. I guess that's a no brainer lol.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      5 years ago from Southern Illinois

      This was a fun read. I can relate to always being on the opposing side through my teen years and behond.Hee..I guess that old cliche, " Father knows best " is true...Cheers.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 

      5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      I enjoyed taking this reflective and delightful journey with you, growing up with Thumper, God and the Queen. This is a charming Father’s Day tribute to your Dad. You have had an interesting life…working as lighthouse keeper sounds amazing. I had to chuckle over one of your Dad’s favorite expression: “A little education is a dangerous thing.” I agree with Maria; he would be so very proud of you.

      That song by CSN is one of my all time favorites. I remember when I was going through my teen years, my Dad loved to quote that line from The Fantastics, “If you want them to do anything just say no.”

      Voted up and much more. :-)

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 

      5 years ago from Jeffersonville PA


      Your writing is conversational, nostalgic and ever so charming.

      I also suspect your Dad would be so proud of the woman you have become... a wonderful tribute.

      Voted UP and across the board. Love, Maria

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      5 years ago from south Florida

      Very entertaining, snakeslane, Thumper was wise beyond his years to realize that silence can be more useful than negative repartee. Of course, I on the other hand, like to tell a new acquaintance I meet at a seminar or conference, "If you can't say something nice about someone, sit down right here next to me." :)

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      5 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Snakeslane, I'm so delighted to find this today. Beautifully touching and deep into the roots that make us who we are. I kind of figured we were about the same age, influenced by the same characters and traditional values. Some of us dropped out and returned much later, a shadow of our former selves. I failed to heed my old Dad's sage advice, ended up married in my teens to a G.I., yet struggling to capture my real feelings about the Viet Nam "conflict" as it was called early on.

      Loved learning about your values and loved the music and video selections. Your narrative was beautifully written from the heart.

    • snakeslane profile imageAUTHOR

      Verlie Burroughs 

      5 years ago from Canada

      Mckbbks, Aww, thanks...a parent's approval is such a precious gift. My Dad and I always kept communication open, even when we disagreed on things. I'm grateful for that. Thanks for your appreciative comment.

    • snakeslane profile imageAUTHOR

      Verlie Burroughs 

      5 years ago from Canada

      Hi Becky, Thanks for your very nice comment. My Dad was doing the best he could do to teach his children to be good citizens, it must have been hard for him to watch us (especially me) question the status quo. I'm missing the café too, been so busy. :)

    • mckbirdbks profile image


      5 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello snakeslane. Life is indeed an adventure. Here you are giving tribute to your Dad for Father's Day. I think I know what he would say now. "I'm proud of You"; pretty sure that's it.

      This was a pleasant jog down memory lane. The Viet Nam era brought about significant changes. The people in the streets showed that the citizens were paying attention and "just do it because I said so" came to an end. We should be so lucky to get back some of that enthusiasm.

      Good to see you writing.

    • Becky Katz profile image

      Becky Katz 

      5 years ago from Hereford, AZ

      I truly enjoyed this look at your upbringing. My husband went through those things but I am enough younger that when he went to Vietnam, I was in third grade. Your father sounds like he was a wise man and I figured you were brought up in that era. Miss ya at the Cafe lately.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)