Sunday, September 4, 2011

for my father...

Fathers Day 2011

 itty-bitty me - with my daddy, my far (grandfather) and my far-far (great grandfather)

I am lucky I have pretty much the very best father imaginable 
(except maybe for my kidlets....) 

there is no denying our sassy-boy is a chip off the block!
Happy Father's Day to my farmer Phil - you're a wonderful dad

I'm also pretty lucky that my father is still very much a part of all our everyday lives... 

When I was seven years old my father had an unimaginable accident (the sort that usually features on programs like 'I shouldn't be alive') - he was dragged under a tractor and slasher (do you all know what a slasher is? for the uninitiated, it's a like giant mower that's pulled behind a tractor..). The tractor back wheel rolled over my daddy's back (crushed daddy), his skull was fractured (smashed daddy), his leg was hit by the blade (slashed daddy) and his right arm was cut to smithereens (chop chop daddy)... He wasn't expected to survive. I remember the day and the time that followed vividly, even though I only learned the details in following years. Thanks to a series of miraculous events (he managed to stumble up onto the highway to flag down passing traffic... the local ambulance team broke the land-speed record getting to the scene, they were followed by the local doctor... events unheard of nowdays), the brilliance of a local surgeon (pulled of the golf course and rushed to the hospital), the dedication of nursing staff (called in on their day off - the accident occurred on a Sunday), the commitment of a local community (word went out that the blood bank didn't have enough blood... dozens of Bega folk turned up at the hospital to make donations).... well - long story short - after a marathon surgery, months of hospital care, a year in a body cast, years and years of rehabilitation and surgeries to cobble together a working right arm.... my daddy was returned almost to his full self (he has something of an 'unusual' right arm!). Most importantly for me and my little brother - our daddy survived.

 mini-me and my daddy.... on the tractor...

And boy-oh-boy what a father we have! (I'm going to do some bragging now). My father has been awarded the AFSM (Australian Fire Service Medal), National Service Medal and Centenary Medal for his 50+ years as a volunteer with the Rural Fire Service (efforts I honoured in a dedicated page in the National Book of Heroes and Champions)

But that is only the tip of the voluntary community service iceberg - My father has been president or secretary or treasurer of basically every single community group (expect the CWA!) in our small town and has been made life member of many of these (Apex, RFS, swimming club...) oh and he's patron of the local branch of the RSL (this year marked the 60th year in succession that he provided the music for the ANZAC day service.... how incredible is that?).

Dad is also a fabulous musician - he initially played piano accordian, then switched to drums in local dance bands from the 1950s to 1990s (yep - he went back one-arm drumming after 'the accident'... until his right arm was kinda 'fixed') and has played the organ for Cobargo Uniting Church for something like 45 years. Some of my best childhood memories with and of my dad are steeped in dance band music (the first things I learned to play on the piano were dance hall classics from the 1920s, 30s, 40s and 50s... like 'In the mood' and 'April showers' and 'I've got a lovely bunch of coconuts'... ) Throughout my teens and into my twenties I regularly played music with my dad - with him on keyboard, me on guitar.... ahhhh I REALLY should get my marvelous Maton out of its case again!

  mini me and my daddy with ukelele

My daddy has had a diverse 'career path' (despite school and parent protests, he didn't go off to university..... he's a totally self made man).... I don't think there was ever a time where he (a) worked for someone else or (b) had just one job at at time.... he always did lots of very different things seemingly simultaneously (hmmmm I think I spy a family resemblance eh?) musician, school bus driver, motor cycle sales and repair, farmer.... they aren't jobs that would usually inspire awe, wellllll not unless you met my daddy - he's one super smart cookie! But the bulk of his time was (and still is) spent in serving the community... 

Damn but it was hard growing up in a small community with two well-known ridiculously wonderful parents!

I've not met a person that matches my father in the mix of intelligence, honour, courage, compassion, humility, integrity, and honesty...

EJ with her poppy.... on the tractor

It's totally impossible for me to sum up in a words just how amazing my father is... or to express how grateful I am to have had him around all these extra years.

I'll simply say - I love you dad

Happy Fathers Day



  1. What a lovely post, Rhonda. And what a lovely, lovely man your Dad is! xxx

  2. Aw ...shucks, thinks you 'gild the lilly' somewhat, but I love you regardless.


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