My Dad is a remarkable man, both professionally and personally. I have a huge amount of respect for him as a metallurgist and scientist and also as a Dad and a general human being.
My Dad is not perfect (I think he and I share the same disregard for perfection or a quest for it) – we disagree on lots of important things and I’m pretty sure I got my stubborn ‘streak’ from him. I don’t want to paint a portrait of a man without faults. My Dad is faulty and ALSO the best Dad I can imagine.
My Dad is a man who embraces life, takes the good with the bad and never complains about a thing. He has the highest of moral values and a work ethic that is exhausting just to think about. He has high expectations of all around him, and is the sort of man that people strive to impress.
My Dad is a quiet man with firm opinions on a huge array of topics. Sometimes he sees things that are grey as black, or white. He’ll always listen to your opinion, though, as long as you don’t swear while you’re sharing it.
My Dad is courageous. He has a sense of adventure that I wish I had inherited. He has travelled overland from India to England on a motorbike (before The Beatles made India accessible to the West). He and Mum travelled through the Middle East in a mini-van before most Australian’s had even worked out the Middle East existed. My Dad had friends and colleagues visiting throughout our childhood from countries all over the world.
My Dad had a big black bush beard in the early 1960s, well before they were acceptable. He had people pulling their children away from him in the streets. He was accused of being dirty, or uncouth, or having something to hide. He rode out the rude comments until the 70s when everyone had a beard.
My Dad is a brilliant Papa to his three grandchildren. He is patient and energetic and will do anything for them. He sings songs and comes up with nonsense rhymes. He makes up silly voices for their dolls and teddies. He climbs into tree houses or carries them far into the paddocks to see the cows. He creates science experiments and builds tree houses and train sets.
My Dad can quote Shakespeare and will tear up listening to Beethoven. He sings songs about green and purple old coots. He is writing a book. He has invented dozens of DIY solutions to dozens of problems around his farm. He has also invented scientific technologies that have changed the world.
My Dad taught himself how to use a computer and the Internet when he retired. To help out Mum he taught himself to cook on Wednesday nights, which by no coincidence was the night I would stay at Mum and Dad’s every week before I had Little Fearse. He didn’t phone it in, either. He learned to cook elaborate seafood dishes (often to please me – we share a love of seafood, my Dad and I). He would research these dishes for days before cooking them, hunt for strange ingredients and spend hours preparing before he started cooking.
My Dad would give you the shirt off his back if you asked for it, even if you didn’t really need it. Sometimes even when you didn’t really want it. When I was a kid and he came home late from work, I’d sit by him while he ate dinner and beg his potatoes. He always gave them to me, even though he was surely starving after a long day at work. Now he passes all the best bits off his plate to Little Fearse. He’ll always go without to ensure everyone else is well fed.
I have so many awesome memories of my Dad growing up. Sometimes he’d take me for late night walks in the garden. We’d star gaze and enjoy the perfumes riding on the wind. There was always a little magic in the air on those warm spring evenings, just Dad and I wandering in the dark.
As a young child he taught me to swim in our freezing in-ground swimming pool. In my early teenage years we’d go swimming together in the mornings before school. Sometimes we’d both emerge blue with the cold, but it was like a challenge to me. I wanted my Dad to be proud of me and I knew that I had to show him that I was hardy, I could handle a bit of cold water on a cold morning.
One morning in the frosty dawn, when I was 16 and my brothers had all left home, Dad and I buried a sheep that had passed away in the night. It was an oddly bonding experience.
When he drove me to school he’d throw maths problems at me, challenging me to improve my mental arithmetic. I didn’t have any other friends who spent so much time with their Dads before they even reached the school gates for the day.
I am grateful every day for My Dad. He encourages all his children in their pursuits and shows a genuine interest in our lives. I hope that when he reads this blog none of this is news to him, because I try to show him every day how much I love and respect him and how glad I am that he’s my Dad.