Originally, I was going to call this “things I remember about Dad” but it’s too soon. He’s not ‘a memory’, he’s my Dad.
He’ll forever be alive and well in my heart.
So here’s what I know about him:
Dad loved beer. A lot.
Dad also loved talking for hours about nothing and everything. He loved telling what I call “Dad facts” at every and any opportunity. Dad loved old war movies, British comedies (Dad knew every line on every episode of “Faulty Towers” and knew pretty much every line and song in any Monty Python skit/film), meat pies, a glass of Guinness, time with Mom and Jay (and okay…time with me, too), having a ‘good yarn’ with his friends, animals, art, history, signs and wonders (“Janet! It’s a sign!” – it wasn’t, but Dad was so open to magical things that he was truly convinced every time he saw something slightly unusual/out of the ordinary that it was ‘a sign’).
Dad adored my Mom. I would often find Dad just looking at Mom – humming away to herself as she cooked/ironed, just watching tv or watering the garden – with a look of complete love and wonder on his face. He found Mom utterly hilarious. English isn’t my Mom’s first language as she learnt, she’d question things – why were they called this, why did we say that – and OFTEN get song lyrics wrong – much to Dad’s great amusement.
Dad would look at Jay (my younger brother) the way a person would if they found a huge diamond or a big chunk of gold. Jay was a treasure and Dad cherished his every movement and breath as if the sun rose and fell in him.
I didn’t realise until Dad died, but he mumbled a lot and had a deep, gruff voice. Because he smoked A LOT, Dad would often cough as he talked but it wouldn’t stop him talking for hours on end.
Dad delighted in making a friend and in helping a friend. Anyone in need would be project of Dad’s and he loved to help where he could and then talk for ages about it.
Dad loved talking about bodily functions – especially poo, God bless him. No matter what the conversation was about, Dad would sneakily find a way to ask “Have you had a poo today?” in there or would loudly announce “Love, I need to go for a poo”…in later years, Dad would wink and wiggle his head as he would say with a grin “I need to go you-know-where to do a you-know-what, Chook”
I miss that.
Dad loved medical things. He and Mom between them basically owned and carried about (if they could) a small chemist. Any time I had a headache or pain in my body, Dad would want to know all about it. As I was explaining it, Dad would be rifling through his huge collection of medication and would gleefully be telling me what to take. Usually multivitamins. Any ailment at all – Dad would say to 1) Have a shower 2) Have a poo 3) have a cup of tea (or in his case, a cold beer) and 4) take a multivitamin. Every. Single. Time.
Dad had a round tummy just like Santa and a deep, belly-rumbling laugh. This was paired with Dad’s long, thin legs.
Dad laughed often. He found humour in everything around him.
Dad LOVED to dance. At parties/weddings – if there was some 60’s, 70’s and 80’s music playing – then Dad would be out there, murdering the dancefloor with his Mick Jagger moves. Dad moved gracefully and somehow took up the entire dancefloor with his favourite dance moves.
Anywhere with a pool and you can bet my Dad would be in it, paddling around and talking with a smile.
Anywhere with a bar and the same – Dad would gravitate that way – often subconsciously – and make a friend or two to wile away the afternoon with.
Dad would always injure himself on holiday – always beer-related. Always his knee, arm (usually sore or grazed elbow) or his head. His head from not realising how tall he is and walking into many a doorframe or from swimming along the bottom of the pool with his eyes shut (Oh Dad) and bumping his head on one of the sides.
Dad’s hands were calloused and rough and I loved whenever he held my hand. It gave me so much comfort having Dad’s big bear paw around mine.
Because he was a painter, Dad’s wallet and mobile phone would always be covered in splatters of paint. That always made me smile.
Dad loved dogs, he found them hilarious. He loved ALL animals, actually. Dad would watch them and has always treated animals with care and appreciation. I think in another life, Dad would have loved being a Vet.
In social events, Dad would hang back and observe with a big smile on his face.
Dad quietly observed a lot of life, actually. Dad loved talking, but he’d quietly notice things you wouldn’t even think to consider and comment on them later. For instance, Dad is the only person in the world who knows I blush. I’m dark-brown so I didn’t think I did…I obviously get embarrassed – but I thought blushing was more prevalent in lighter-skinned people. Dad knows I blush in a light pink line across my forehead. It touches my heart that he noticed that, you know.
Dad loved bookstores and the origins of a well-told story.
Dad was the middle boy in the 3 Daniels boys of his family. He had an older brother Trevor who suffered (we suspect – Dad and I) from Schizophrenia. He hung himself when he was a young man. Dad’s younger brother Andrew was the family favourite. “Uncle” (BAH!) Andrew was spoiled. He was a very ugly human being on the inside and made my Dad absolutely miserable. I have no time for him. I never met my Grandfather. He died in a terrible car crash. I met my Grandmother; a frail, quiet woman who wore fragile cardigans, had a dog called “George” and smelled like moth balls, roses and wet dog. She spoke quietly and was the first – and possibly only – person to call my Dad “Gerald“.
Dad refers to himself as “Gerry” and so do all his mates.
I can probably count on one hand the times Dad and Mom have been apart from each other. They are so much together that I think of them as one person. And so I should.
Dad loved miniature things for some weird reason. I made a tiny vase of tiny flowers – each complete with teeny-tiny flower petals – painstakingly made by my little hands when I was younger – and Dad marvelled over them (the flowers were smaller than a half grain of rice) for months. I’ve done some pretty awesome things in my life but Dad seemed most proud when I did something Art-like.
Dad added Tobasco sauce to almost every savoury meal. He wasn’t really one for sweets but he loved spicy food, pizza and meat pies a lot. Dad loved seafood and once at a “Gold Club” in the movies, Dad ordered a plate of cheeses. I rolled my eyes at the time – why do you need various CHEESES during a movie, Dad? But out of the corner of my eye, I watched Dad gently cutting up bits of cheese and munching happily on them. So cute.
Dad was really artistic. Even though he painted houses for a living (I wonder where Dad learnt it), he made all these amazing effects/finishes and if there was a home project Dad could get involved with, he loved to add colour. I remember once I had to attend a school ball. My ball dress was a mix of purples and different blues and I couldn’t find shoes to match. I had a pair of white flats, so Dad PAINTED THEM in the exact same shades of purples and blues. With HOUSE PAINT mind you. I didn’t know whether to be appalled or impressed…now that I can look back on it as an adult, I’m impressed. It shows my Dad had a lot of talent. I think he would have loved being an artist.
Dad laughed all the time. He walked around singing bits from his favourite songs. Dad loved music and his favourite bands wrote a lot of cheesy, romantic songs. Dad loved Chicago, Air Supply, TOTO, the Beatles, Phil Collins, Elton John, Bob Dylan…he also introduced me to a love of Tracey Chapman. Dad played her first cd like a teenager – over and over every day. It’s because of that, I know every word to every song on her first album.
Wherever Dad was, he made his presence known. He was always taking, humming, mumbling and muttering. All happy sounds though.
Dad loved to teach. He always took lost young men under his wing and taught them the painting trade. He loved whenever Mom, Jay or I would ask him a question and would delight in long “lectures” (Dad’s word) about anything we went to him with. Dad was a patient teacher and rejoiced if we learnt something from him.