I've been debating about writing about this here, but particularly in view of the last few posts about love and old age, it seems right.
My amazing dad died last week after fighting so bravely and if it's possible, lovingly. He really was, as one of my beautiful nieces called him on facebook this week, a 'legend'.
This week, his close family will be sharing our memories of him, and although it will be sad, I think it will also be a celebration. Not least because the story of my mum and dad has always been a love story, and he's missed her so much over recent years. Once, when they were both in different hospitals, they got us - their middle-aged children - to carry love poems and letters back and forth between the two of them. How lucky could we be?
And now, here are three of my favourite childhood memories of him to share with you. Collecting them for this blog makes me appreciate his sense of humour and fun all over again.
1) He had a passion for Eric Morecambe (he even looked a bit like him):
2) Is it possible to beat this Harry Worth window trick? We didn't think so when we were kids anyway. Maybe I'm just imagining it but I am convinced Dad used to do this too. I know going anywhere in public with him was a mixture of pride, pleasure and deep embarrassment. He couldn't pass anyone by without striking up a conversation with them and trying to make them smile. One of his favourite jokes was to try to sell us in shops when we were really small. How we laughed.
3) I always remember him playing Johnny Cash loudly in the car, and whenever this particular song came on we knew the words well enough to shout it out. Dad often used to wind down the windows too so we could really let go on the bit, 'My name is Sue, how do you do?'. Still can't resist it now, and it was a joy to hear from a school friend over the weekend who remembers this vividly too. We all need some gravel in our guts and spit in our eye....
I'm not sure how often I'll be blogging over the next couple of weeks, but I'll definitely still be running the competition. That judging panel are prepared after all, and I can't tell you how much I've been reading and rereading all the lovely quotes and comments I've received. Thank you. If you would like to send more, you know they will be read with gratitude and care. You can't celebrate love of any kind enough, and it's a fine collection we're gathering here, competition or no competition.