Monday, 20 September 2010

Live the life you love.

Celebrating Dad's 70th with my sisters

He hobbled his bulk towards my kitchen, at which point I suggested he might like to sit on a chair while I made his lunch, nonchalence carefully contrived to disguise my concern.  Age is taking its toll on my Dad's stoutly gouty knees and after years of ignoring their pleas, they are fighting back, demanding their right to a peaceful retirement.

As he eased himself onto a chair, I busied myself about the kitchen.  The twinkle in his eye was still very much in evidence, but I sensed age impinging on his mobility, frustrating his attempts to live life as he would choose.  If the choice were still his own, I knew he would elect to live a life full to overflowing with the great outdoors he loved so much and when the need for company called to him, would relish the opportunity to flirt with the ladies, oil his joints with a decent bottle of red and dance the twist all night long.

As the cheese bubbled and browned on his toast, he told me indignantly that after his recent arthroscopy examination, the nursing staff attempted to encourage him to use a zimmer frame.  He's an irascible old devil at the best of times, so sent them packing, leaving them in no uncertainty regarding his feelings on the matter.  I smiled as, full of his usual bluff and bluster, he recounted his exploits, knowing without any doubt, he'd rather those pretty young nurses paid more attention to the twinkle in his eye, than to his recalitrant knees.

My father is a man who loves to talk and is at his most animated with an audience.  With very little encouragement, he will capture his listener with flambuoyant tales and with every yarn he shares, zest for life bursts from him, painting pictures of his exploits in the brightest imaginable hues.  In both stature and character Dad is an imposing man, commanding respect from all who meet him.  He can be a hard man, a determined man, but always a fair man.  Not one to fight shy of life, Dad has never hesitated to come out fighting whenever the world has dared to take him on. 

As a father, he was a strict disciplinarian, but he was also the man who gathered all the local kids together, stacking them into his estate car to drive to the woods to find sand dunes, so we could all run, roll and rejoice in the fresh air.  He would show us how to gather willow to weave baskets, how to bang nails into wood to create boats to float and how to find squirrels in those wonderful woodlands.  He would take us blackberry collecting, bringing us home with buckets brimful of juicy fruit, purple faced and deliciously sticky.  Heaven help us though when we misbehaved, then his roar would terrify us, sending us scattering for cover.

These days he visits when he can.  It is always with the greatest of pleasure and pride that he enjoys the company of his grandchildren and in turn, they are intrigued by him and love his humour, greatly respecting the mischievous twinkle in his eye.

As he tucked into his lunch with gusto, I heard him ask his grandson, my nineteen year old son, how he was getting on at University.  I waited with interest for the answer.  It came openly and honestly as he shared his frustrations with his Grandad.  With almost half a century between them, Dad gave him the sense of direction which I, as his so very responsible mother could not.  "Don't waste a single day on anything in life that you hate," Dad advised, "...live a life you love and don't waste a single day."

I watched as the tension which had been tormenting my son for the past few weeks, left his face and later, as he waved goodby to his Grandfather, it was with the warmth of genuine respect and affection. 

Thanks Dad.

Written 25th August 2004

My Dearest Dad, I will miss you more than you'll ever know.

PJ x

18 comments:

Lombardbears said...

What a beautiful photo! So many smiles...what a fabulous man your dad is... that stays with us forever and ever..xxx

Amanda said...

What a lovely man and such true words spoken.

FenBeary Folk said...

Beautiful

Joanne@ Desertmountainbear said...

Beautifully written Paula. You painted a very good picture of him. Brought a tear to my eye reading the words. You are lucky to have had such a wonderful person in you life.

Dolores said...

A gorgeous photo. Looks like you all had fun.

Ginie said...

Simply beautiful, and what wise words of advise on how to live life. I agree with Joanne , you were blessed.
Thankyou for sharing with us.

All Bear said...

Thank you so much for taking time to read this post and hear about my Dad ...

x

Elizabeth said...

Everyone's Dad is the best Dad. Your Dad spoke such wisedom and I will think of you and him everytime I'm doing something I'd rather not.

Katy Cameron said...

What a lovely tale, he sounds like a wonderful man

Bumpkin Bears said...

Dearest Paula, a very special story of a clearly very very special Dad. I am so sorry for your loss. I know just how hard it is to lose a parent. How wonderful that he was able to be part of his grandchildrens' lives as they have grown up. Sending big hugs, Catherine xx

Kelly said...

Oh Paula I am so very sorry for your loss. But celebrate his life, and consider yourself lucky you had him as long as you did. My Father passed on when I was 17 and he was only 42.

Your Dad sounds like he was a most remarkable man!

Great big hugs sent over the sea!

Kelly

Pauline said...

Paula thank you for giving us this story to read, what a wonderful man your Dad was, you must hold some very special memories of him.

Thinking of you
Hugs
Pauline

Melanie Jayne said...

Your so lucky to have so many wonderful memories of your dad and your writing is so beautiful of your dad and those memories also.

I am thinking of you Paula, please take care
Love
Melanie Jayne

Jackie said...

Sending hugs Paula - we are so sorry for your loss. Your post was very moving - he was cleary a very special man. xxx

MaryAnn said...

Thank you for sharing this beautiful story about your Dad - sending you a big bear hug and lots of love - MaryAnn

All Bear said...

Thank you all so much for your kind words. It really helps to know you've been thinking of me x

Cheryl @ Bingle Bears said...

Paula, so many of us have quietly been sending you positive thoughts and prayers without letting you know. I know I have been holding you gently in my heart ever since I heard many days ago on the Guild. I'm so glad you have so many warm and happy memories.
You are loved,
Cheryl

Sarah said...

I am so sorry Paula. I shall hold his wise words in my mind. His wisdom will live on as will your wonderful memories of a very special man and father.

Special hugs, Sarah x

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