Good Old Dad

Dad and Mum

My Dad was a classic kiwi bloke.

He was a freezing worker, but before that he did a bootmaking apprenticeship. But he could earn more money in the meat export trade. And he needed more money because he had 7 hungry kids to feed.

He liked a bet, and he liked a beer. And he loved rugby league.

He was tough on us kids because he didn’t want us to get into any trouble. Or get killed doing something stupid.

We learned pretty quickly that Dad has a million eyes on us and any nonsense we thought we might get away with was soon reported to him by his network of spies.

So we grew up without getting into too much trouble. And the odd smack on the butt made it so.

We had a quarter acre section in Mangere and it was big enough to play bullrush on, and learn to drive, and was a mission to mow.

Dad loved gadgets. All of them. Electric knives,  computers, color TVs, VCRs, weed eaters and water blasters. Anything and everything. We had tons of steak knives.

Dad was funny too. A quiet kind of humor that only came out every now and then. But mostly he was serious, at least with us kids. He taught us about working for things you wanted was the only way to get anything you wanted. No one was going to do the work for you.

And he made us believe that we could do anything we wanted. All we had to do was want it enough.

So simple.

Me running to football practice cicra 1964

Kiwi Peter Snell broke the world record for the mile in 1962. I don’t remember when it was but I remember Mum and Dad talking about the achievement at the dinner table. Mum said to Dad,

‘Did you ever think someone from New Zealand could run a 4 minute mile?’ Dad said “My kids could run a mile in under 4 minutes if they wanted to’

I asked how far a mile was and Dad said it was the length of Buckland Road. So when I had to run from our house at the top of Buckland Road to rugby league practice at Massey Park I always tried to do it in under 4 minutes.

I have no idea how long it took me as I had no way of knowing, but I was never late for practice.

As I grew older I was less inclined to listen and do things his way so I went off and made my own mistakes, as you do. And he let me.

But he never said I told you so, because he knew that wasn’t going to serve any purpose.

But when I became a Dad and started to feel the responsibility of parenting it was easy to tell him that I’d learned a lot from him, and that he was right and I was wrong.

About so many things.

He just stared at me for a bit, smiled that smile and shrugged his shoulders and said ‘We all learn eh’.

As Dad got older he was an awesome grandad to his grandkids, and he spent most of his time at home looking after the swimming pool he never swam in. Every weekend in summer it was around to Buckland Road we’d all go, togs and towels and Dad on the BBQ cooking snarlers cut in half lengthways and handing out the beers. Mum making the salad and running the creche with the littlest ones.

When Dad died his funeral was huge. Like him, larger than life itself. I didn’t say much when it came for my time to speak but I do remember thinking what he lived for, and acknowledging he achieved it.

Life, to me, is about finding 4 simple things.

Love. Truth. Happiness. Peace

He found love, because he was loved.

He found truth by being honest.

He found happiness, because he was happy.

And he found peace and he is at peace.

Happy father’s day Dad

Dad and Dave


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