Every year since I have known my Dad, he has done something super impressive. There is almost no end to the amazing stuff he has done. Let me list just a few…
1. Back in the early 1970’s he was the lead singer for the Murray Sludge Bush Band. He played every stringed instrument, but mostly the Mandolin, Banjo and Guitar. I know he still plays his Mandolin, but I suspect it is more a mantle-ornament these days. The Banjo I remember hearing back in the early 80’s when we did the family-band thing (where I played the spoons!). Every Christmas and family-birthday the guitar makes an appearance. (I’m so glad I kept my Brother-in-law’s guitar when the IN-laws sold house: Dad was forced to play it at my 40th early this year!). BTW, Mum played the piano-accordion and tin-whistle, Damien played the lager-phone, Gerard played the tea-chest bass. Those were good times.
2. When I was ten years old, I left my mother’s home to live with my father. I sometimes wonder why I did, and particularly how life would have turned out if I had stayed with mum. I think the biggest reason I wanted to stay was because Dad had a farm. With sheep, goats (~milk is delicious), geese, chickens (~for their eggs), fresh cows milk delivered from the neighbours 10klm down the road, and 3 acres of land to search and discover a’new every weekend. All three boys were never bored nor wanting for anything. I remember those times with fond memories, even if a little hazy.
3. Dad cooks eggs in every single way possible. But it is his “scrambled eggs in 10mins” that always amaze me. I remember visiting their home a few years back un-announced to find him making his lunch. It was interesting to watch him talk with us whilst whisking eggs, pouring them onto a hot iron pan and cooking them. Yum, can almost smell them just thinking about it!
4. Dad has built and flown many model aeroplanes, but only two stand out the most: The first Flying Snoopy-Dog-House and the Flying Superman. When I dig up photographs, I will show them to you all! Both were made of light-weight foam and balsa-wood and propelled off the ground with model-aeroplane propellers. I’ve been told I was the model that lay down on the foam to get the dimensions of Superman, but I think someone’s pulling my leg.
5. Dad has been an architectural draughtsman as long as I have known him. Back in the 80’s when us boys were in High-School, he was a sole-proprietor of his own architectural-business. I guess he was successful, we lived comfortably.
5. Dad continues to design earth-covered houses. Back in the 1980’s, our whole family built our own earth-covered house together, and then watched as Dad designed and helped build a few around Murray Bridge and Adelaide. I am so glad I was able to help as a builders-labourer on some homes, as I learnt a lot about housing and what real hard-work is. Pity I didn’t pursue the architecture studies that I started after High-school. But that is for another story….
6. Dad has amazing tolerance for the stupidity of teenage boys. Particularly when I nearly shot my own finger off. Turns out it is not a good idea to light a flame to the back of a .22-bullet. Some things I boy has to find out the hard way. 16 stitches to ensure the finger stayed attached. I’ve told that story before, so I am not repeating again!
I have acquired a few traits of my father that I glad to have:
- 7. When required, either of can project our voice across a room with amazing clarity and solidness that will be heard by all. Neither Dad nor I need a microphone to be heard. Except when the music is too loud.
- 8. We hear everything, which is why we don’t really like being in large crowds. Yet we also enjoy the company of friends and family, so we listen more than we talk. Truly. Whilst I like to talk, there is no doubt about that, but more-often I have found that listening is much easier.
- 9. Because we are male, we also have selective hearing. Consequently, with some effort, we can pick one voice out of a crowd and concentrate on it. Truly. Ask my work colleagues.
- 10. We both have an affinity for the arts. Dad is a great drawer of architecture, whereas I prefer to photgraph heritage and modern architecture. Dad makes model aeroplanes, I prefer to fly in them or photograph them. Dad has made great music, I enjoy collecting new music.