I have read a few tweets in my twitterstream today that have praised people’s fathers and I thought I’d take the time to put some thoughts down about my dad. As many of you will know Bobby J, my dad, is terminally ill with cancer. Not that you’d necessarily know that if you met him today. Mostly because of his awesome attitude, which is one of the things I most admire about my pa.
Bobby J, is quite simply a legend. He’s one of the most patient people I know – family history says that I never slept through the night as a child (still struggle with being a night owl even now) and that Dad could regularly be found, with me in his arms in the rocking chair. He also spent hours listening to me murder a descant recorder when I was learning to play and he used to insist that I practice, a big believer in practice makes perfect, he harboured ideas of one of his children being musical, sadly something that wasn’t really realised – although none of us are as tone death as Bobby! On the music front, one of my favourite childhood memories was when my Dad took me to listen to the Royal Marines Band – suspect that has influenced my admiration for bootnecks now, think it also goes someway to explaining my love of pipers!
My Dad has spent years volunteering with the Army Cadet Force, testament to his patience was the hours he would spend every October and November polishing his boots for the Remembrance Sunday parade. I only ever saw my Dad cry a handful of times as a kid – every one was linked to Remembrance Day in some way! My Dad is a practical man and nothing phases him, when the house I lived in was flooded in the middle of the night in Ireland, it was my Dad (in another country) who got the panicked phonecall to ask what we should do about turning off the electric. He also had many late night/early morning phonecalls when we couldn’t get a taxi home or were stranded somewhere – he’d pick up the phone and be compos mentis instantly – and as long as there was good reason behind the call he’d never complain. My Dad is a practical man, he fitted my kitchen and bathroom, helped decorate my house, lay my wooden floor and is guaranteed to have whatever tool you could possibly need – although it is only him that can understand the ordering of his shed! A stickler for appearances and a lover of ironing, my Dad was very unusual compared to my mate’s dads – I’d often come home from school in the summer to find him ironing in the garden, in shorts, with an extension lead run from the house – not normal behaviour by a long shot.
But that’s it really, my Dad wasn’t, and isn’t, normal – he is exceptional.
A generous, patient, fun man with stoicism and determination like I’ve rarely seen in anyone else. He has fought his cancer diagnosis in much the same way he has tackled lots of things in life – with a complete and utter belief that he can succeed – and to date he is doing just that. I know everyone thinks their Dad is the best, but mine quite simply is.
My Dad and a very little me!