Because I’ve recently – suddenly and unexpectedly – lost my Dad, every thought is on him.
So, for today’s #bloganuary, I would love to go on a road trip across Australia with my Dad.
I can picture it now, nothing but the wide road in front of us, Dad in the driver’s seat, me in the passenger seat and an “olden days” road map between us along with an esky for Dad’s beers (shh) and soft drinks or juice for me. Dad’s cars were always old with noisy engines that chugged more like old tug boats than cars. The dashboard was always splattered with paint because Dad painted buildings/houses for a living. So was his phone and his wallet. Anything that was dear to Dad was covered in paint. Dad would be wearing a brightly coloured shirt – probably a surfer shirt or some tshirt with a random word emblazoned upon it. He’d pair this with bright boardshorts and a pair of thongs.
I would love to be in the car with him, singing along to the radio together, smiling at his goofy poems, songs and “Dad facts”. Dad loved singing and knew almost every word to “old people songs” – Neil Diamond, the Eagles, Chicago, Air Supply, Elton John…all the “classics” and had a really deep, gruff, tuneful voice. I’d love to hear him sing again, you know. I’d love to glance across at him as he drove and take time to breathe him in; the smell of old spice, cigarettes, soap and house paint. I would love to hear my Dad’s gravelly laugh and I would actually listen and take notice of the places he’d point out along the way. Dad loved Australia so much and knew a lot of the history of the places we’d probably drive to/through.
I’d love to pitch tents with Dad in the evenings and roast marshmellows on the fire with him. I know Dad would complain about “Argh! All the sugar, Chook…Yuck!” but I’d want to do it anyway. I’d love to cherish his dear little face in the firelight and listen to all his stories. Dad was filled with so many of them. Dad loved long, meandering conversations about nothing and everything. He was not one for small talk, he wanted to know the nitty gritty of people – what really made them tick. Dad was very knowledgeable. All my life, Dad seemed to know something about virtually everything. He loved telling me stories. I suspect so many were made up, but he told them with so much confidence that part of me couldn’t help but be caught up in them.
We would drive for hours because a road trip would actually suit us both to a tea. Dad loved travelling and driving for long stretches at a time and my favourite thing in the whole world is to be a passenger on a long trip. I like the journey more than the destination. We would see Australia’s barren and beautiful landscapes, stop at Beaches (my request) drive through almost every McDonald’s (Dad’s request) and make friends along the way – something we both naturally do and love.
Dad and I both love living in Australia so much. I would love to ask Dad more questions about his life as a young man – before he became my Dad – and take in everything he told me, tucking it away into my heart to replay again and again as I grieve his loss.
This is so bloody painful to write about. I’ll stop here because I can’t see through my tears.