Since I posted my first blog here about the loss of my Dad, lots of kind words and condolences have come in from friends and family.
In particular, my cousins have sent me their memories of Dad; memories of an entirely different person… the person I’d forgotten. They remember what a great character he was and how wonderful Mum and Dad were together when we were kids - always laughing and cuddling.
They remember the summer vacations spent at our house in Portsmouth and speak about the gargantuan meals my Dad made for everyone. Oh yes, and the enormous mess he always left behind after. I can't imagine Mum was too thrilled about that!
My Dad taught me to cook; that's something I’ll always be grateful for. Dad never did anything by halves. His baking sessions were legendary. I recall the baking days when all the kitchen surfaces were filled with mouthwatering goodies: mmmmm.... those chocolate eclairs were amazing. And the bread rolls fresh from the oven. Oh, and the pies too; I've never been able to recreate his custard tarts.
One fantastic memory I have from my childhood was the Christmas menu he would pin up on the kitchen door every year. He would list all the sumptuous meals we would be enjoying throughout the holiday season. Our mouths would water reading what delicious feast was coming up next.
My cousin Tony recalls an incredibly kind and generous man… and it made me reflect on that… and I remember an occasion that he came home without his coat. He’d given it to a homeless man who he figured needed it more than he. The fact that he was probably “three sheets to the wind” at the time is beside the point, but still it came from the heart. Of course the day he came home with a stray dog on piece of string was not something Mum was too happy about...
|My painting of Dad... on skates.|
My brother Mike gave Dad a great send off the day before his 82nd birthday… it was something he would have appreciated. Nothing religious; Dad wasn't into religion. But they said goodbye to him to the sounds of Nat King Cole’s “When I Fall in Love” and Frank Sinatra singing “Would You Like to Swing on a Star”.
Dad was always a dreamer... and was forever wishing for the day when things would be better... the day his horse would finally come in... the day when he would be "Swinging on a Star".
I sang a couple of songs for him that evening and raised a glass or two and tried to remember all the good things.