Father’s Day…..some thoughts

Dad was a hard man. Stubborn, tough…at times, hard to like let alone love. I can find a few bumps to show where we often butted heads. But considering his era – World War I, the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl and World War II – he turned out pretty well. In reality he turned his grade 8 education into a pretty successful life.

Looking back I wonder what he passed on to my sisters and me. Certainly, in me there is a stubborn streak. Some won’t believe that I put that thought in print. (….fingers crossed behind my back.)

On another plain though, there are the values…. values of family, honesty, hard work and friendship. I see those same values in our sons and their families. And in my sisters and their families. He would be very proud.

In later life his love for music emerged when he joined the Arion Male Choir in Victoria, B.C. Singing became his real passion as photography has become mine. I know for sure that he didn’t pass his singing ability on to me. Even when Parkinson’s disease took hold of his body he still managed to take his place with his beloved choir.

As evidenced by the boxes of slides and black and whites in our basement he also loved photography. His camera traveled everywhere with him. I loved it when night fell. The window blinds were drawn, the doors were shut and the kitchen was turned into a darkroom. It was there that the magic of photography came to life for me. It was such a special time.

Now, watching our grandchildren grow, learn and develop I marvel at their world. Digital everything! Their interests and values are emerging. These are what will carry them through their lives as they have done for me.

Many years have passed since my dad left us. Age has given me a different perspective of his life and on fatherhood. There are no lessons, only experiences, values, hard work, honesty and integrity.

Ellen, our family and  friends who have come into my life are what is most important. I still have many challenges left on my bucket list. Photography is at the root of most of them. Thanks to my dad’s vision and his desire for us to have a better education than he had and the more than several head bumps that occurred between us I have a good chance of clearing some of those challenges from my list.

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One Comment

  1. Alan Flynn June 17, 2019 at 10:29 pm #

    Such a thoughtful and caring short biography about your father. I get the feeling of his personality . My father worked down coal mines from the age of 14 to the date of his retirement at 65. Before pit baths he walked the two miles plus back from the colliery in his dirty clothing and my mother prepared the tin bath filled with hot water from the set pot heated by our coal fire. The coal dust even clung to his eyes lashes after the bath as if he was wearing mascara. I had the same experience with my eyes when I worked down a coal mine from the aged of 16 to 19 when I became a Police Officer.

    He loved his drink and betting on horses . I think that he drank my share of alcohol , something that I have never really taken to. His love of sport was passed on to me. He took me to the home games involving Huddersfield Town once the cream of the top division in the UK. Also to numerous cricket grounds to watch Yorkshire and also to watch England play Australia . He never had a car so we travelled on public transport .

    His short temper was passed on to me but I managed to control it better than him. When I wanted a bike and record player it took him a while to come round to buy them but I got them. He attended every school athletics event and supported me being the only parent there and it was a it of an embarrassment but he taught me exactly the same values that your father taught you,

    He encouraged to me to join the Police Service along with a friend purely because I was tall enough. I did very well for a shy young man. My athletics career took off in the mid 60’s
    as a splinter over 100 and 220 yards later to be converted to metres. He travelled all over to support me. I won several titles and was ranked in the top 60 in the UK three years in succession.

    I hope that I have passed some of his qualities on to my two children. Certainly the interest in sport to my son , My daughter, who has no interest in sport has that same single mindedness passed down from my father to me and me to her.

    The days through those war years through to the late 50’s were hard and you had to be tough with very little money and food rationing both during and for a period after the war to get through . Our parents were much tougher and more resilient than the current generation.

    My parents maintained a record of family life through photography. Photographs of both myself and brother in small black and white prints are either in small albums or loose. Even one of my mother with her maternity dress on as she expected my arrival.

    Many memories have been restored for me through this article . It feels as if my parents are sat besides me as a write this.

    Alan

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