What can you say in 5 minutes about a legend who you’ve known for 50 years? Not much, but the vicar was a fan of Pink Floyd and had most of the records on vinyl, which was a good omen. I cried a little, but overall went down well. Plus I included a few prompts there, ever the hoar to WordPress and seeker of gratification. If you like you like… And please don’t liken me to Jordan giving birth on the internet, I’m nothing like that, this is something that happened to me, as things have been for the last 4 years according to this shambles and much longer if you’d care to consult me, who’s been around for 46 years longer.
Forgive my nervousness; there’s 3 things, I’m not used to giving Eulogies, I’m not known for wearing a suit and I rarely do any public speaking unless i’ve had a drink.
So forgive me if this Eulogy is not particularly erudite, I just thought I’d share a few stories of my Dad, whom I knew as Dad rather than Michael. As a Child Mum and Dad were the first people I met and without knowing it they became my World, everything I learnt first off I learnt from them. And as a Child growing up you believe that your folks will be around forever, there is no concept of death or loss, only as one grows and ages does one become aware of their own and everyone else’s mortality, and now I am the age I am I realised rapidly about 2 weeks ago that Dad wouldn’t be around forever, but my inner child, strangely, expected him to be.
The great thing however is the fond memories I have of Dad being, well my Dad. Like the time I came outside and saw him digging the borders in the garden which he was forever doing, and stopping to stoop down and talk to the worms, “Hello worm” he said, carefully moving the worm out of harms way. Another time I remember Dad chasing escaped cows from the field opposite, away from his front garden in his dressing gown shouting that he’d “Marmalise” them, I can’t count the number of times he said he’d marmalise me, probably well deserved too. I remember that same gate they escaped through being opened and a barn door laid on 4 bales of straw to form a jump. All the lads in the village would start at the top of our drive on their bicycles, and then charge down hill, across the road, into the field, up the ramp and grab some air, hopefully landing safely and Dad would be watching shouting “pedal, pedal, pedal, pedal” He loved to see our adrenalin pumping and the smiles we wore.
Dad flew a plane, and he was never happier than taking me and some mates up for a fly on a Sunday Morning down at the Leicestershire Aero club, then back to the clubhouse bar for coke and crisps and pool for us, and a Whisky and ginger and grown up chat for Dad. Then we’ed come home for Mums extra special Sunday Roast, a long Dog walk with Charlie, me almost running to keep up and then back for Rugby Special, where dad usually fell asleep on the floor!
At school I was in the cricket team, the only sport I’ve ever been any good at, a lazy but effective leg spinner, Dad rarely missed a game, even some of the away games, and to see him watching quietly from the other side of the boundary rope spurred me on to impress, he saw me take 56-7 at Uppingham, i’d like to think that somehow he played a part in that haul.
Dad was such a kind, generous, thoughtful and gentle chap, one of the best chaps you could hope to meet and by the dozens of cards and letters addressed to Mum and myself, the village WhatsApp messages, emails and phone calls a huge amount of other people thought the same. It makes me immensely proud to see how many others he left a lasting impression on and also obviously to have had him as my Dad, and if I can even be a quarter of the man he was then he would have taught me well and I would have done my job.
The Sunday before Dad passed, my family and I were at Mum’s clearing the dining room to make a suitable bedroom for Dad; On Sunday afternoon, we all spoke to him on the hospital phone and to say he was looking forward to coming home was an understatement, to see his beloved, Jose, My Mum and to look over his garden once more, to see myself, J, M and A again. On Monday morning I received the phone call which no one wants to receive telling me that after a happy, hearty breakfast and chats with the nurses my Dad had passed away, very quickly. It gives me comfort to know he was thinking happy thoughts just before he lost consciousness.
So I have to finish, because time is of the essence and I expect many of you would like me to clear off so you can have a bite to eat and drink a toast to Dad at the Bell after this. Next spring under variegated skies we plan to bury Dads ashes here in the Great Glen garden of remembrance, and maybe plant a tree for him, I’m sure he’d like that.
I’d just like to read a couple of passages for you from my Children, M and A, if you’ll allow me.
The Kids stuff was wonderful, its in my bag, which is upstairs, so i’ll get it later. The key is leave your begging for more.