My dad died four years ago this August. I often think of him and especially so when important dates approach. Oddly, I think of him most around Fathers Day. I say oddly because I anticipated that his birthday, or the anniversary of his death, would impact me more. It doesn't. Even though my dad is gone I will still think of him, and appreciate him, tomorrow. After all, my dad taught me about the most important things in life:
Nature: Ok, I will admit that my dad's endless facts about fishing and birds were really quite irritating at the time. Our car journeys in Cornwall were intermittently interrupted with cries of, "Buzzard!" or, "Red Kite!" However, when I last went down to Cornwall, with a friend, I found myself doing the exact same thing. It turns that being able to recognize a bird of prey is actually quite satisfying. Who knew? It also means that whenever I see a Red Kite gliding through the sky I think of my dad, which is nice.
Music: From Bob Dylan to AC/DC my childhood was littered with songs from the greatest lyricists, guitar players and singers of all time. I remember listening to Forever Young as a child and thinking that it was the most boring song I'd ever heard. This opinion might have been influenced by the drunken singing of it, by my family, on the journey home from my grandparents wedding anniversary when I was about 12. It was only as I got older that I began to understand the brilliance of that song. We played that at dad's funeral.
Cricket: "How's that!" A cry that I mistook, as a youngster, as being, "Wozzzaaaaa!" Growing up near to the local cricket club was a joy. I'd whack on my roller skates, mum would make the cricket tea and we'd spend summer afternoons watching my dad bowl and, sometimes, try and bat. The love of cricket was inherited by both of my brothers and so I feel an affinity with the ground. We have a memorial bench there for dad.
Native American Indians: I don't know where my dad's passion for Native American Indians came from. All I know is he found them intriguing and I have seen Last of the Mohicans about 25 times. However, I bet there weren't many other 11 year olds singing "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee" by Buffy Saint Marie on their Karaoke machines. It turns out that the Native American Indians talked a lot sense. My brother found and read a prayer at my dad's funeral and I like this proverb that I found "They are not dead who live in the hearts they leave behind."
My dad also taught me lots of others things: don't accidentally buy triple strength lager and drink them within the hour whilst watching the Euros; you will be sick. Don't vote Tory, don't judge people, don't live to work and always indicate when driving. Obviously, there are a million other things that I could list. I was lucky enough to have grown up with a dad that stuck around and loved us all unconditionally. There are so many things that he has, and will, miss but tomorrow I'll be thinking of all the things that he didn't. Happy Fathers Day, dad.