Today is a day of mixed emotion for me. On one hand, me ma is enjoying a 'Birthday of Note' (I can't tell you which one, of course, but it starts with a '6' and ends in a '0'). On the other hand, it is the anniversary of the old man's untimely demise. So it is a funny day ... funny peculiar, not funny 'ha ha'.
The thing about having a Blogette such as this, is that in the Early Days (sounding like a pension plan all of a sudden - 'pension', get it?) I am coming up against hitherto untapped events - family stuff, good or ill, things that I have not reflected on in this way - beware dear Reader, I am about to set off on another.
I wrote a little something about the Old Gal a while ago on Mother's Day and declared my admiration for Mrs Brady Old Lady. Well, today is her birthday, and she too of course, has to ally the pleasure of that with the pain of the fact that Dad cocked up big time, and fell off his twig on that day of all days. 'Silly old sod' I said then, and 'Silly old sod' I say now. Only a bloke could could die on his wife's birthday ... silly old sod.
The thing about my old man is that he was a most excellent fella. Built in the image of none less that Humpty Dumpty, he did the rather brave thing and married my freshly be-widowed mother when she had three ankle-biters and he was fast approached his retirement. Yes, that's right - there was a spectacular age gap between mum and dad, thirty-one whole British years. There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth from his own family (dad was freshly be-widowed at the same time as mum - it gets complicated, but his daughter was of a similar age to mum, and her son was my age - keep up). Still, despite all, they remained married for well over 25 years, mostly happily - and dad helped raise a young family when he should have been having late-life crises and fits of the dribbles. He was a grumpy bastard, a red socialist who made Scargill look like a LibDem. He was a Colour Sargeant formerly of the Royal Engineers, so had a very very very loud shouting voice (which, from one who looked like a wheeble, was at times amusing).
But he was kind, insightful, funny, wise and in his own way, beautiful. He was conspicuously proud of us even when we made a mess of things. But he had a wonderful sense of how to be silly - an art lost to so many people. There is nothing better at times than just to be silly. Even into my late twenties and until he died, I could walk up to him, given him a big kiss and hug, and reverse his hair on his head so the ones that covered his baldy-slap fell forward - then I would walk away laughing. He didn't mind. We would then argue simply for the pleasure of arguing.
I didn't see him for a whole fortnight before he died so suddenly that night. I was still a retailer and was based in Swindon at that time, so visits were less frequent. That hurts, that still winds me, and that still makes me feel ashamed. I could not have asked for a better Dad, and I can't believe my luck that I had the dad I had. The old bastard has, however, let me down. He promised that when I got nice furniture of my own that he would come to my house and jump on it like I did to his. Well, mate, it's here and ready. If you came back just one more time, I'd let you smash it to firewood. Then I'd mess your hair up again, just because I could.
May you rest in the peace that you so richly deserve and with the God that you kept so close to you. If you had met my girls they would have loved you too, and had you lived long enough to see me ordained, you'd have known that so much of my joy was down to you and your prayers for me. Take care, mate, God Bless.
But dying on mum's birthday ....... silly old sod.