For the second Father’s Day on the trot I can’t pass on the predictable, but always very much appreciated, gifts of a bottle of Chilean merlot and recently released musical CD to the old man. After his passing in October 2017, he forgot to leave a forwarding address. Although, I’d dread to think what the postage would’ve been to send the tokens of my love for him if he had!
I can’t even send him a message on Facebook. Where his spirit now resides just about the only place where the social media giant hasn’t yet reached….. Well, not that I’m aware of anyway! If it does I’ll be a bit put out he’s not yet invited me as a friend yet!! I’ll check the ‘Friends List’ of my siblings later, see if he’s amongst their FB buddies.
I’m writing this in the dining room his labour paid for. From my pew at the table my aesthetic companions are the retaining wall my old man built with his own hands, the turf he laid, along with a variety of perennial shrubs that outlived the beautiful man I was blessed to call dad.
I proffer in the second paragraph the words ‘Where his spirit now resides….’ A romantic notion hoping he’ll be in a utopian paradise being entertained by Frank Sinatra and Mel Torme, drinking a glass of red with ex-Leeds United hero Billy Bremner and reaping the other deserved rewards his lifetime behaviour warrants.
To be honest, though, I’d posit ‘Where his spirit now resides….’ won’t be a celestial heaven where he’s get to mingle with his also deceased lifetime idols. No, that spirit exists in the hearts of his family and close friends whose lives are infinitely the worse for his passing.
I think about Malcolm Strachan every single day. The triggers that blindside me can be simple things like opening the cutlery drawer and witnessing the slightly marked potato peeling knife he’d use to make chips. Potatoes he’d cut with forensic symmetry; an OCD strategy he followed to maximise his chances the fries would attain a consistent level of browning…… Chips he tended to double cook to increase the crispiness, the result a darned sight more appealing than oven chips.
Seeing one of the many eclectic CD’s he loved is another frequent trigger to evoking memories of the old fella. In fact, as I write, an Elton John disk that I got him for Fathers Day a few years back is perched on the cabinet housing his music collection.
The disk not sat there from the last time he played it, I hasten to add. It’s presence the result of me listening to it yesterday evening, accompanied by a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon and a handful of crisps. The experience one of melancholy, interspersed with wry smiles fondly thinking about a man I was lucky enough to have as a role model.
Anyhow, I need to bring this narrative to a conclusion as I need to get the old man’s potato knife out to peel some potatoes to put around the Sunday roast. My son, his fiancee and my daughter are due in a couple of hours for a Father’s Day lunch.
I don’t attempt to get the spuds as forensically accurate as Mally did, in fact the tatties are so crudely hacked they ordinarily look as though I’d cut them with an angle grinder. It matters not, though, they’ll taste nice and as the family tuck into them we’ll no doubt raise a glass to the our beloved missing Yorkshireman.
Happy Father’s Day, dad!!