Another piece of dad’s ‘irony’ was to allow me to do almost anything I liked (within the law), even take his new 1956, two-tone-green FJ Holden, registration GND 535 (that he would park in Kipling Street before leaving the keys on the ‘fridge’ and retiring to the lounge room to read the paper) for an unapproved drive past the milk bar where my mates were.

He came out the next morning and realised that his 14-year-old son might be able to drive a car in the dark, but he certainly could not park one. He found the new vehicle outside our gate, partly on the footpath and partly on the street. It barely rated a mention from him. However, if I as much as back-answered my dear mother, I was in deep bother. So I never did; and I still don’t.

Dad and mum grew up in those tough Depression years. Mum was one of fourteen children, and my dad the oldest boy with ten brothers and sisters. My mother’s mum died at 44 and my dad’s father at 37. I suppose that each of them learned how precious mothers were… my mother from having lost hers, and my father from having to provide for his widowed mum from the age of about 12.

I have no recollection of my father ever ridiculing my mother, or saying anything that would have made her feel small or insignificant. He never raised his voice to her, and certainly never his hand. Although he had very little schooling, he was so very well educated in what mattered most.

Good fathers, really good fathers, teach their children, and in particular their sons, to honour womanhood, especially mothers.

The great General Napoleon Bonaparte was once asked what was the greatest need in all of France. His reply: ‘Mothers.’

My father left me a legacy for which I will always be grateful: the desire to be a husband and a father, and to be faithful in both roles.

Growing up we had everything that money could not buy. I felt secure in a home where I knew that my father loved, even adored, my mother. Home was a rented house in Dryburgh Street, North Melbourne; a three-roomed cottage on a five-metre wide block of land. It was one of those outside houses. The toilet was outside; the bath was outside; but the love was inside. Dad was the head of the home, and his great support for, and confidence in my mother, encouraged her to be its heart. I could almost feel the love my father had for my mother.

Thanks dad! I wish now that you would have asked me to stay home more often. It was not that you had a desire to restrict my fun with my mates that motivated your ‘rules’; it was your love for your bride… my mother, and your concern for her happiness.

Thank you for fostering a relationship between mum and me, that is more precious than all the fun I might have had.

Thank you for being a role model for me as a husband to a lovely wife and a father to four beautiful daughters, and now a grandfather to nine grandchildren.

You have left this mortal stage, but you did not leave without having made a most significant contribution to the future generations that bear your name, and to the societies in which they live… you were a dinkum dad!

Great fathers are able to effectively
combine toughness and tenderness:
they are tough-minded,
but very tenderhearted.

[Photo by August de Richelieu from Pexels]
Published On: February 23rd, 20040 CommentsTags: , , , , , ,

About the Author: Leo Talbot

Leo Talbot has 4 daughters and 10 grandchildren and has been happily married for 40 years. He has a background in Strategic Sales and IT.

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