There’s so many precious memories and interesting moments I could tell you about my Dad, but it could go on for infinity. Haha! I’m not even joking.
Before everything that happened , he was a fit, healthy man. Full of energy, great personality and had so many friends. He was like a social butterfly. There was always somebody he bumped to in the street, whether it was an old colleague to even a stranger he happened to make small talk with. Sometimes, he would sneak up to somebody from behind, put on a voice and ask a random question until they turned around with great surprise. They would crack up laughing and make small inside jokes and then go off on their way. Also, I would catch him while we were out shopping making conversation with somebody until I would ask later on, ‘Who was that Daddy?’ ‘God knows!’ And I would laugh myself silly.
So, I’ll share some moments with you. From what I have been told before, Dad was born early on June 10th 1946 in a hospital in Paddington. But he was born at a period where the technology and equipment in the hospitals weren’t as developed and advanced as it is now. It would have been a critical time for premature babies and most of them wouldn’t have survived. But my dad was able to breathe on his own which was really quite remarkable. Even by birth, he was very strong. He was born to proud parents, Joan and John and was the middle brother of his eldest, Brian and youngest, Kevin.
Growing up were tough times. Most families were living in poverty – below the breadline. But everyone as community helped each other. Also, there was always enough to have a good meal inside them. Kids were always active, spending hours playing and would explore places where people wouldn’t even dream of going anywhere near now. Parents have become more fearful of their children’s safety because of what has been heard on the news, the number of kids going missing and of course, social media which would probably explain why children and families are much unhealthier today.
Times were tough and you had to act tough – especially in school which was like a breeding ground for bullies. Dad was a tough cookie, though. He wasn’t a tall man, perhaps a little below the average height but he didn’t let that defeat him. Bullies would pick on his friends and the ones who were an easy target. He was like their knight in shining armour. ‘What are you gonna do, little weasel?’ They would say (sometimes worse words than that). He would step in and fight back twice as hard giving them black eyes and bloody noses in the process. Some bullies were huge, muscular guys that no one would dare to cross the line with and they never bothered him again after that. Unfortunately, it never won justice for dad because he ended up getting the cane for it (which was a regular thing) and that was unpleasant.
He was pretty clever too. He was placed in third from the top sets in his year and managed to pass all of his exams. Art was his favourite subject. I remember him telling me that he once sketched a brilliant horse in his art class from picturing it in his mind and the teacher was so ignorant and stupid to recognise talent, that he didn’t believe that he drew it himself. He had an argument with him and tried to convince him but the nasty man gave him a low mark. What a spiteful git!
He loved horses and there was a moment when they were younger when Dad and Kevin approached some horses in an open field. They were betting to see who would jump on one of the horses bareback. ‘C’mon Tim, You wouldn’t dare! You don’t have the guts. Kevin playfully teased. ‘Alright then, watch me!’ Dad replied. Surely enough, he crept up slowly from behind the horse and quickly hopped on its back. It let out this loud ‘NEIGH!’ and galloped at lightening speed. It was like something out of a slapstick comedy. So hilarious! It suddenly stopped and it threw dad up in the air before making a ‘not so soft’ landing in the prickly bushes below. A few grazes and bruises but completely unharmed.
Well, as I said before, I could tell you a whole lot more stories but it could go on forever..