This is a photo of my Dad taking a spell with my oldest son when he was just a toddler. They had been building a timber garden bed together, and stopped for a drink and a moment sitting on a box on the front doorstep. Dad was explaining to him the difference between wood and timber. It's my favourite picture of my Dad.
My Dad died this year in May. I didn't blog for a while after that. I wanted to write something nice in a post in tribute, but the words didn't come.
My Dad was a great father, a thoroughly decent bloke and a talented tradesman. He was of few words, but taught me many life lessons that our children learn in turn each day from me. That's the way of things. There are other things though that I am grateful for - little things that I learned from him when I was just a tot that will help me enjoy and appreciate life now long after he's gone...
He taught me how to whistle - really loud - without using my fingers. I like that.
We went fishing together, and he told me he was proud of my hook and worm skills.
I inherited his habit - to hum and whistle constantly - often with no discernible tune - it's really irritating, but I don't care.
I love the simplicity of a timber house-frame, the calming qualities of vegie gardening, the elegance of well maintained machinery, and a rippa home made pastie or lamb and pearl barley soup.
He also taught me my first poem:
"I saw a fly,
upon the wall,
It flew away,
and that was all"
And my second:
"The boy stood on the burning deck,
Picking his nose like mad,
Rolling it up into little balls,
And flicking it at his dad!"
[I also learned the second verse about the mum - you can guess how it goes!]
I'm so glad he got to know our boys, and they had a chance to know him. Little brother has a beautiful new family that got to know him too - twice blessed. Hubby and I are grateful that we could all be here for him at the end, and for my mum, who is now challenged with a life on her own much sooner than she planned.
More than anything else, he was a practical bloke who mainly believed in getting on with life and living honestly, making the most of what you have, with the people you love.
I can do that.