Father’s Day is approaching on June the 21st. It’s not as easy to buy for the men in our lives as it is the women, the same goes for praise. I’d like to pay tribute to an unsung hero… my Dad, Damo, a gentle, kind man with a sharp brain and his light planted firmly under a bushel.
My Dad is exceptional (I’m not in the least bit biased). He has always been a solid rock of support for myself and my sister. No man was ever going to live up to the precedent he set and the men we married are reminded (and agree) about that frequently.
In our house as kids if we heard wait till your father gets home, we’d roll our eyes and giggle whereas if we knew our mother was on the warpath, we’d start looking for alibis. He was old-school, going out to work Monday to Friday and spending weekends wallpapering or breaking down a wall (my mam directing wildly from the sidelines like a crazed Anna Ryder-Richardson).
Here are some of the reasons I love him;
- When I got bitten by a dog at 12, he calmly held the wound together till we got to the hospital and it subsequently didn’t need stitching. He somehow managed to calm my hysterical mother who was driving and keep me from passing out with shock all the way.
- He taught me how to wire a plug and which wire was the live one (brown) although he should’ve heeded his own advice as I witnessed him getting electrocuted several times. He can fix anything…electrics, plumbing, ikea furniture, maxed out credit cards..
- I learnt how to swear from him although he replaced all the Fs with Bs so it was buckin this and buck that. I once overheard him call someone an antichrist on the phone and asked my Mam the meaning, earning myself a wooden spoon encounter and the silent treatment for him.
- He taught me to drive; it was only a few years ago and he took over from my husband who’d washed his hands of me and my corner-reversing. He lost his cool and I ended up crying but he didn’t give up and in the few minutes before my driving test we cracked it and he was waiting at the test centre for the good news and the best hug ever.
- He thinks all problems can be fixed with a drink, I tend to agree.
- He calls everyone Mickey and if they’re lazy he’ll say “pull the finger out mickey”, I don’t know why.
- He’s an expert exaggerater and he’ll start a story with “there were thousands there”… I’ll say “Dad?” He’ll say “ok… maybe hundreds”. After some goading, he’ll admit it was him and two others. I may have inherited this trait.
- He’s a hypochondriac. I’m not denying his chronic back pain, his brush with prostate cancer or his hip issues but you can’t tell him about any illness without him adopting it. I was in early labour at my parents house in 2008 and my Dad started to complain of stomach cramps. When he starts my Mam looks at me and we burst out laughing while he gets indignant (and possibly indigestion) I’m glad he’s a technophobe as google would mess with his head altogether and his pension would be spent on lengthy and invasive tests. I may have inherited this one also.
- Kids love him. He’s always been a messer and would feign putting some of his nephews and nieces in the washing machine or goad them into punching his stomach (abs of steel). He would chase me and my sister to bed, turning off the lights and making scary noises as we howled in terror; he’d also dangle us over the banisters which could explain his bad back. He is my 7 year old son’s hero, so much so that he dressed up as him for Halloween sporting his signature white hair, moustache and leather jacket.
- He has copious amounts of patience as my Mam will testify; laid-back she’d call him but in a family of hot-heads and hormones he is the voice of calm and reason and if his voice is raised we will all pipe down knowing we’ve gone too far.
- He is a voracious reader and reads 2 to 3 books a week. He may not remember what any of them are about but we share a passion for Stephen King and Ross O’Carroll Kelly.
Thanks Dad, for my red hair and freckles; for my love of books; my open-mind, my profanity and my proficiency with plugs. You are my hero and I hope the socks and hankies I got you adequately convey this.