Tuesday, March 9, 2010

My Dad

I actually posted this quite a while ago when I was participating in "Wednesday's Walk Down Memory Lane".  Which is starting up again by the way!  Today is the anniversary of my Dad's death, so thought I would post it again with some minor changes.
As we are preparing for our first trip back to Australia in 12 years, my thoughts have naturally been turning to memories of home. Memories of family, events and places. Memories of those that we will be visiting with and those that are no longer there. Our last trip back to Australia was for Christmas 1996. My Dad was dying from cancer. I had to decide whether to go back for a funeral or to go and see Dad before he died and let the children (and me) have some memories of their Grandfather. It wasn't a very difficult decision.

My parents divorced when I was 14. My Dad remarried a lady that my family had known forever. Her husband was a fishing buddy of my Dad's and he had died a few years before my parents divorce. Birdie is definitely on our list of people to visit several times. On our previous two trips back home she would whip up a full-blown meal out of absolutely nothing. When we would stop by to visit, she would always insist that we stayed for dinner (tea), when we would protest about it being to much trouble, she would say, "Nonsense, we are just having scraps."
I have wonderful memories of that trip. My Dad was a man of very few words, so we didn't have any long heart to heart talks, but sometimes actions make up for the words. I loved watching my Dad watching Jessica as she ran around his huge backyard with her brother. Jessica looked a lot like me at that age and I could tell that Dad was thinking of me as he watched her. It made me feel good to know that his memories of me bought a smile to his face. Dad always had a huge vegetable garden. He had been having trouble with birds, rabbits, etc., eating his vegetables, so as a deterrent he had placed several plastic snakes strategically around his garden. My children did not know that they were fake and they soon came tearing into the house when they spotted the coiled snakes basking in the sun. My Dad thought that was hilarious!!
Growing up, my Dad took me with him on fishing and hunting trips. He always put the worms or frogs on my hook for me - yuk! Dad even made me my own fishing rod. My Dad would often bring home orphaned baby kangaroos, wombats and one time, a native hen that we called a road runner. We raised it with our baby chickens. My Dad spoiled me. For Christmas one year Dad made me a playhouse that had a kitchen and a living room complete with a working stove and lights.

On our 1st trip back home, Dad loved taking the Joshua to a fish hatchery that he was instrumental in building and running. Joshua had the wonderful experience with his Grandfather of taking a dead mouse out of a mouse trap and resetting it. That day my Dad drove us all over the local area showing us the sights. We got to see the farm that my Mum and Dad had owned just after WW II.

This is my favorite picture of my parents. Not sure when it was taken, but, even though they divorced, it is good to know that they once loved each other very much. It is good to know that they still loved their children and their children's children.
This will be a difficult trip in some ways. My Dad died in March, 1997 and my Mum died February, 1998. Not having them there when we return is going to be a shock, even though they have been gone all this time. They are what make home - home.

It was a much different trip back to Australia last year.  Many people that I loved were not there this time.  We visited Mum's and Dad's graves for the 1st time.  Words cannot express how good it felt to be with my family.  I love being with Jim's family and hearing all their stories about growing-up, Dadisms/Rickisms and especially the stories about Jim's shenanigans!  But, I miss sitting around with my family and talking about our memories........our shenanigans.  I miss fishing with my Dad.


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