So, it’s Fathers’ Day tomorrow. I sat down today to write a post honouring my husband, my best friend and the father of my children (yes – all three of those guys! Boom-tish!). But then I realised: Husband has no online presence whatsoever. He’ll never read it. He still calls it the ‘Internerd’, for pity’s sake. So, I’ll tell him in person how great he is, and instead use the blinking cursor to honour my own father – a man who is so polite that when we were small he used the expression ‘blinking blazes’ instead of swearing. So he is a ‘blinking curser’ himself! Wow, I didn’t even plan that bit. Ahh, we’re in for some top-shelf prose tonight, I can feel it!
Dad gave me my introverted temperament, my dry sense of humour, my razor-sharp wit and my humility. (What?! It’s true!) Here are some of the best things about having him in my life all these years.
My Dad is Kind:
My Dad is without exception the nicest guy I know. Now, I know everyone says that about their own dad, especially this close to Fathers’ Day. What you need to understand though, is that if you met him: he would then be the nicest guy YOU know as well. He is both a Gentleman and a Gentle Man. I believe he once shot a bird with his pellet gun as a small boy, and was so riddled with grief and guilt afterwards that he couldn’t bear to kill another animal, ever. He doesn’t fish, hunt, or squish spiders. When I was about eight years old, he needed to set some mousetraps around our house. I gave him hell over the fact he was planning to kill the little micies by breaking their innocent little necks. I seem to recall I even mounted a one-kid picket with hand-drawn signs emblazoned ‘MURDERER!’. It wasn’t until years later (actually, not until I had to set mousetraps in my own home and deal with the teeny tiny corpses myself) that I remembered this and realised how difficult I made an already guilt-laden task for the poor man. So Dad: I’m sorry about that. ‘Murderer’ was, in hindsight, a little harsh. Thanks for not swatting my righteous little behind, as I probably deserved.
My Dad has Impeccable Comic Timing:
When I introduced my second serious boyfriend to my parents at the age of nineteen, he and Dad ended up having a one-on-one chat at some point in the evening. He asked the young man what he was studying at uni. ‘Info Tech’, came the reply.
Dad: Ah, excellent! Programming or networking?
BF: Oh, networking of course! Jeez, programmers are all weirdos and neckbeards who live in caves and have no grasp of personal hygiene, no WAY I’d specialise in programming!
Dad: *nodding, smiling*
BF: So, erm, what do you do for a living, Mr H?
Dad: Me? I’m a computer programmer. Drink?
The mortified boyfriend made a hasty escape and relayed this exchange to me later. He told me he didn’t know what was worse, the fact that he’d made such a massive faux pas, or the fact that Dad appeared to be so amused by it. Poor dude had no idea that this is exactly the kind of thing that tickles Dad no end; rather than being offended, he would have found that sucker punch immensely satisfying. As do I! *snort*
My Dad is Resourceful.
One income and five children doesn’t leave a lot of spare cash around. But I imagine that even if we had had lots of money, Dad still would have found himself heading to the dump most weekends to drop a load of rubbish off and return with a trailer-load of ‘treasures’. Our bikes often came salvaged from the dump (well, technically I think my second bike was actually two broken bikes cobbled together). Good as new after some cheerful restoration, and Dad was equally enthusiastic about going for rides with us. He’d often multi-task and take the dog – a large-ish boxer X labrador – for a run at the same time, by looping her leash over his handlebars. Baby brother on the seat behind him. No helmets because this was the Olden Days. I’m having palpitations just thinking about it, actually. But nobody ever came to serious grief, and we had awesome times.
My Dad Puts The Effort In (and is sometimes rewarded, but more often just breaks even):
Dad hasn’t had the best of luck with cars and special events. He hitchhiked to my sisters’ graduation ceremony when his car broke down on the way. He got a flat tyre and was late to another sister’s wedding – he arrived in the nick of time to walk her down the aisle. He and my stepmother got hopelessly lost on their way to my wedding, but fortunately spotted the bridal cars on their way to pick us up and tailed them to the venue.
Because Dad is such a quiet, unassuming presence in the world, he has a tendency to forget that his voice does need to be heard on certain occasions. Like, the occasion of his daughter’s marriage. At my sister’s wedding reception he sidled up to me anxiously, saying
‘Your mother seems to think I’m meant to give a speech. Is that right? C didn’t say anything about a speech’.
I had to break it to him that, well, she probably hadn’t mentioned the speech because it kind of goes without saying that the father of the bride makes a speech. He scuttled off to find a pen and returned a little pale but armed with a respectable series of toasts. Two years later, at my own wedding reception, he sidled up to one of my sisters.
‘People are asking me about my speech. Am I meant to give a speech? Nobody mentioned a speech’.
To this day I still don’t know for sure if he was kidding, or half-kidding, or deadly serious. And to be honest, I was on such a
champagne love high by the ‘formal’ part of the evening, he could have made his speech up on the spot and I would have thought it was terrific. But what I do know is that by the time his third daughter got married, she was clued up enough to sit him down a few weeks before the wedding and prepare him for his valedictory responsibilities. And what a cracker of a speech it was – funny and sentimental, so much so that (to borrow directly from the source) there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Even the cake had a few tiers! Solid. Gold. Amazing what a bit of preparation allows one to come up with. (Hmm. Note to self: consider preparing blog posts in advance and editing them thoroughly prior to publishing, instead of just banging them out like you do currently. May yield better final results).
My Dad Lets Nothing Get in the Way of a
At one stage, my Dad had us all convinced that the audible lines on the highway were there so that blind drivers wouldn’t veer off the road. That took some dedication, sticking to his story over any number of car trips and deliberately buzzing over the lines occasionally to remind us.
Dad fed us a diet of Monty Python films, Weird Al Yankovic music and Douglas Adams books as soon as (or slightly before) each was age-appropriate. He read The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings aloud to us, with full theatrical commitment to vocal stylings, as we sat mesmerised in our bunk beds. I still reckon he did a better Gollum than Peter Jackson’s creative team.
Dad is possibly the only person who will think that this birthday card gag is as funny as I do:
And so, it seems only right that I conclude this post with a bona fide Dad Joke:
A father is visiting his adult son, to celebrate the birth of his first grandchild. He presents his son with a large, beautifully bound book.
Dad: Son, this is my gift to you. It’s our family collection of Dad jokes, handed down to me by my father and his father before him. You’re a father now too, so the book belongs to you. I hope one day you’ll pass it on to your own son when he becomes a father.
Son: Oh, Dad. This is really special. Thank you so much. I’m speechless!
Dad: G’day Speechless. I’m Dad.
Happy Fathers’ Day to the wonderful Dads I know, to the wonderful Dad who lives at my house and loves my children, but most of all to the wonderful Dad I was lucky enough to grow up with. Love you Dad!
*I’d love to credit the above joke but can’t remember where I heard it. I think it may have been Adam Hills but my googling has been fruitless. Please let me know if you know the original source! If not, how about you just leave your favourite Dad joke in the comments and we’ll call it even?