It’s fathers’ day today. Just a little hint if you’ve forgotten. There’s still time to get out there and buy a card and…well, judging by the gifts on offer…something to do with gardening, beer or golf.
I only know about the gifts on offer because I had to trawl through many displays of crap in order for my boys to buy a present for their dad. I don’t have to worry about buying a present for my dad anymore, because he died 7 years ago.
Seven years. It has been seven years since I spoke to my Dad – that seems unreal to me. How can he have missed all of our holidays? Missed all of the parties? Missed all of the day to day grind of ordinary family life? Ah well, but he has, and we have missed him too.
My earliest memory of Dad is one that involves blood and screaming. He used to take me to the park, and I fell somewhat in love with a “horsie” there. It was a “horsie” made out of metal, probably bloody IRON, and you could sit about 5 children on it. The Horsie was on a rail and you swung back and forth on it – I’ve looked everywhere for a picture of it and the closest I could get is here
So, I bloody LOVED the horsie and as Dad was pushing me back and forth on the Iron Horse Of Death, I bent my little head to give the Horsie a kiss. Up came the Iron Horse’s head and cracked me a good one right in the lip. Blood EVERYWHERE. This was the 1970’s, so Dad was wearing a beige “Sports Jacket”. He gave me a piggy back all the way home – me screaming like a middle class woman in ASDA and bleeding copiously all over his fabulously collared coat.
I remember many a piggy back on Dad’s shoulders. I also remember getting hit in the head by a rugby ball when I ran onto the field because daddy was playing. He loved rugby, and I try to keep this in my heart – despite being slightly wooly on the rules. I just shout and scream when Wales are playing and do quite a bit of “RUN, YOU BASTARD!” and “WHY ARE YOU KICKING IT THAT WAY FOR GOD’S SAKE!!” My mum tells me I’m just like him.
My Dad was a funny, clever, gregarious man. I have inherited his sarcastic sense of humour (NO SHIT) and his ability to talk to anyone. I strike up conversations, or often have conversations thrust upon me by the strangest of people and I always remember Dad’s graciousness and I try hard to emulate it.
When I got married, Dad was there. A calming influence on us all, with a nonchalent shrug he paid for the wedding dress and everything else, and his speech was funny, caring and touching (and mentioning the fact that my mum went mental over napkins, and that we were getting married on the Ides Of March – *hollow laugh*)
When I had my children, Dad was there (Not in the delivery room, obviously, we’re not a bunch of weirds) and Tom was born looking like a miniature version of him (and oh! he reminds me so much of Dad – his cleverness, his “carefulness” with money, his sense of humour)
When I got divorced, Dad was there. He’d come round to my house and we’d chat and I knew he was there for me and then…we used to go out sometimes. Out for a drink in the pub and I was always amazed at how many people knew him. We went for a drink once (Dad bought a pitcher of Fuzzy Knob – GOD KNOWS what it was made of but it was powerful shit) and a bloke came over and sat down to have a chat with us. When he got up for a pee, I said:
“He seems nice, Dad”
Dad: “Oh yeah…He’s just got out of prison for eating people”
Me: “What the WHAT now?”
Dad: “Oh yes, He’s Billy The People Eater”
Me: “Uh..What the JEFF?’
Dad: “Oh, He’s alright, He enjoys Spitfire Real Ale…LIKE ME! *happy smile*”
Me: “*whispers* bloody hell”
See? He could chat away with anyone.
But now, he’s gone. Sometimes one of the boys will ask a question about something and I’ll think “I’ll just Ask Dad” and then I remember that all of that knowledge he had has gone. And sometimes I’ll want to tell him something, like when I passed my driving test (first time) six months after he had died, or the time I got a job, or the time that Oliver said something hilarious like “Oh God, this thing about The Kennedy’s…I bet it ends up with him dying” or the fact that Tom is taking his maths and english GCSE’s early..or maybe just that I saw a pigeon with a plastic ring pull caught round it’s neck and I thought someone had been playing pigeon hoopla…
It hits you everytime, like the first time.
And so. On Father’s Day I wish my Dad a happy one and salute him with a G&T.