Isn't it funny how, when someone you love, dies, even the most agnostic choose to believe they are in heaven and not in nothingness? Why is this so? I shall have to ponder this more deeply...but not at 1:38 am.
I wanted to simply remember my father on Father's Day...and say sorry for all the socks he got on days such as these. Socks are the ultimate cop-out, along with hankies and jocks.
Its unlikely that I will make anyone a father again, but hypothetically speaking, should it happen, I solemnly swear that I will not give him hankies, socks or jocks ever for a celebratory event (unless they are seriously funny and NOT the main course!)
What would I give you Dad...if you were here? I'd give you time. I'd simply sit with you in your quiet way, and hold your hand. Wish away the things that got in the way.
I'd retell to my children the stories you made up for us, our favourite being "Piet Pompies + Hanswors" - two simpletons from the circus who stowed away on a train from Johannesburg to Cape Town to go and see the sea for the first time- and all their misdaventures from being discovered and thrown off in the middle of the night in the Karoo...jackals wailing in the distance...crickets chirping, farm dogs barking and the icy winter wind biting into their shivering, quivering bums as they argued about whereto next...
That story wasn't written down ever- it was all in your head. You varied it, added new twists and adventures to keep us intrigued and laughing, but 40 odd years on, I still remember it in minute detail...perhaps it was you who awoke my wanderlust with all those adventures and misadventures?
Of all the things I remember about you, some stand out more as I get older, live longer, grow wiser (hopefully!). They are
Tolerance: I can't think of a time when you would criticise or judge others. You may have thought these things, but, you kept them to yourself. I haven't met many people who can truly claim tolerance as a value. Nor forgivenness- and you had that in abundance too.
Generosity: No matter what, through tough times and good times, you always shared, gave, found something for those who didn't have.
Confidence: A secret shared with you was as good as written on a piece of paper and burnt to ashes in a fire. You took many to your grave. Sometimes I wish you didnt. Too much weight can weigh you down.
The words that a father speaks to his children in the privacy of home are not heard by the world, but, as in whispering galleries, they are clearly heard at the end, and by posterity.
And finally, another acknowledgement of the importance of fathers, for raising little people into balanced adults by renowned American feminist Gloria Steinem
"Most (American) children suffer too much mother and too little father"
And, the fathers suffer too...its so good to see this changing especially among GEN Y. Ninety three cheers for Dads who reject overdemanding careers so they can enjoy parenting their kids too, and may there be lots more of it.