D is for Dad… Generally speaking your Dad is the first Man in your Life and the one that all others are measured against. He’s meant to be the Hero of all your stories, the strength you can count on, the dispenser of discipline. He can also be your teacher, mentor and partner…
D is for Dynamic! When I was young (cute sort of young) we traveled a lot. My Dad would lead us on another great adventure, and when we got to whichever new country or town, he would set about telling us all the interesting things one needed (or didn’t need) to know about the place we were currently calling home. He was a veritable fount of information ~ there was nothing he didn’t know!!
D is for Delight: When I was young (but not quite so young) he would still entertain me endlessly with his stories and amazing explanations, but now he would also tell me to “look it up in the dictionary” or encyclopaedia or similar. Now I started to realise he didn’t know everything, but almost. He would sing to me, lullabies, he would call them, but then proceed to switch the occasional word to see if I was paying attention. I was. The results were hilarious. He would delight in telling me the gruesome fairy tales or nursery rhymes ~ and I would delight in listening! Life was an adventure!
D is for Delicious ~ My parents were great cooks. We ate some amazing meals, simple but delicious. Dad used to tell us amazing tales of exotic foods from exotic lands overseas… and he used to make soup, stews and casseroles in winter… good hearty meals and seriously tasty. But one day when my siblings and I revolted (yes, we were revolting occasionally) we said we didn’t want beef stew for dinner. Dad simply explained that it wasn’t boring old beef. It was Wolf. Wolf Stew. He then told us the whole story about the wolves from some forest or somewhere being exported the world over for stew. Needless to say we ate the lot and asked for seconds! My imagination had been sparked years ago, but now so had my passion for cooking.
D is for Dependable: What a man indeed. He laid down the law, and we knew he was the Man of the house, but he loved us kids so much. Only Mum did he love more.
D is for Duty ~ He was always a bit of a paradox: Authority plus! but also lenient with rules if needed. Absolutely loyal to Queen and country, he had a profound sense of honour and duty and still leads the way when it comes to integrity. However, he wasn’t that good at following the rules himself, and hated being told what to do by superior officers. Not all of them, just the plonkers who didn’t know what they were talking about. He could stand up straight for hours: shoulders back, chin up, chest out, stomach in. Great posture. Thanks to Dad my posture is better than some my age. He was also graceful and apparently ‘walked like a panther”. He danced well. Well, I think he danced well ~ he taught me by having me stand on his toes.
D is for Discipline: There was a time when I was a teenager that my Dad turned into a really mean person. Mum too. But then again, they do that, don’t they? He would tell me off by saying things “I’m not angry, I’m just really disappointed” this would apply to things like late homework and a slack effort on my part; to being late (again) whilst on a date; to things like me trying cigarettes. Yeah, I know ~ I think they’re gross now. But everyone was smoking and I was the only one… so I did too. Idiot. Dad said I was too. I survived my teenage years, and so did my parents. Not completely unscathed, but lessons were well learned, Consequences were lived with, and we all grew into better people for it. I knew I’d let them down at times, but they made sure I knew I was loved.
D is for Decisions: As a young adult making my choices in men was an interesting time. Sometimes trying hard to rebel against the constraints I felt put on me by Dad’s expectations, other times I would be expecting the poor bloke to measure up to Dad’s standards, all right!! I grew up seeing the man love my mum; show respect to all women (all people actually); show love and affection without being afraid of what others thought. Honesty, integrity, duty and responsibility. All qualities I thought everyone lived by. Torn between high expectations and wanting to rebel was tricky. As a real adult, now with children of my own, I find myself spouting all sorts of phrases that I had heard throughout my life. Sit up straight, shoulders back. There are always consequences to your behaviour, so you need to be prepared to accept them. And I dished up Wolf Stew! I still have the same high expectations that Dad taught me. I hope I don’t wear out my husband with them… or my kids.
D is for Discover: It’s funny though, while I was growing up… I didn’t really notice my Dad was too. One day recently, I turned to chat to him and realised he’s showing his age. Crap, I suppose I am too. Tell me another story Dad. I still love those stories. Listening to his voice telling the tales I know so well, my children know so well, is like stepping back in time. I used to sit on his lap, or between his knees swinging in his sarong. Tell me about the tiger Dad? Or one of times you were on jankers? Tell me about the panthers… Over the years I have discovered it was probably more from my Mum that I inherited my sense of adventure… but my imagination and love of tall tales, and spicy food, definitely comes from Dad.
D is for Dear: One of the most recent chats we shared was about his cat Schatzi. It was a very special conversation. And I could talk to him about anything. From photography to astronomy, from food to fashion, and whether philosophical or esoteric, he would talk and listen and talk some more. A big, tall man, always strong and upright. Well spoken, and very intelligent. Great sense of humour in so many things. Such a very happy man … one who knew the value in saying the words. Only last Christmas he made a little speech (as usual) about how lovely us kids are, how much he loves Mum, wonderful granddaughters…. Waffle waffle waffle!!! God he’s awesome!
D is for Decrepit… When did he get old? He always said he would one day, but not just yet. I think it snuck up behind him while he was having a ciggie in the sun with his crossword puzzle. It sure snuck up on me (that he was getting old). As always, he did things his way. (He’d always say: “there’s two ways to do things: the wrong way and my way” hahaha … but he would listen to your way, and so long as there was sense in it, he would accept your view.
D is for Dying, Death and Departed: And in the end, the stubborn bugger certainly did do things his way. After seeing everyone, chatting to everyone; quietly at home, and in the arms of the woman he had loved for nearly 59 years, he very gently and gracefully slipped away. God, how I miss him. One more story Dad, there’s a little girl inside me who still wants one more.
What a legacy he has left us, please don’t be sad.
This is no gloomy story of loss, but rather what I’ve had.
Such wonderful tales, and travels and sights,
Full of True Love, and magic and knights,
I’ll always remember, thank you… that D is for Dad.