It’s my dads birthday today, 80 years young and still got all his mental faculties.
My dad is without doubt the smartest, shrewdest, most astute man I’ve had the pleasure of knowing. That includes my years working and studying in Engineering, IT and Banking.
I’ve never met a man so selfless, with the ability to see past himself, so the greater good and take the appropriate action, sometimes to his own personal detriment.
If I’m half as smart as him, then I’m twice as smart as most people.
Don’t get me wrong, he has his faults, he’s a socialist, not that being a socialist is in itself a bad thing but its a dog-eat-dog world out there and sometimes you have to put yourself first.
I’m broadly socialist too, I believe that everyone should have a fair chance at the whip, but where we differ is that I expect people to make the effort and not be handed things on a plate.
My rules are simple, I I pay, everybody pays. If I work, everybody works .. unless you really really can’t and then the state should take care of you, but apart from that .. here’s a brush get on with it
You might have read here previously, that my dad had a tough upbringing, Born 1935 just before the Second World War in a one bedroom tenement in Govan,Glasgow. Dad was the second child of the family behind my Aunt Rose and before my Uncle Mick and uncle Eddie.
When the war cam, my grand-father went off to fight, going through Europe with the infantry and Royal Engineers.
Back home there were air-raids and the bottom of the tenement close ( entrance) was blocked by sandbags and used as a temporary air raid shelter.
Granda was away for most of the following years, returning now and then, as Eddie was born in 1943, during the war years.
Then life took a turn for the worse. Aged 8 in 1944, my grand-mother (spit!) was having an affair with another man, a married man with a couple of kids of his own. He worked in the railway which was a protected industry and didn’t have to go to war.
But people talk, particularly in a small town like Govan and my Great-Grand-Mother got to hear of her affair. She was a no-nonsense kind of woman with 15 kids, she’ll see a photograph of them elsewhere on the blog.
She wasn’t going to have anyone cheating on her son, so she sent a message to my Grandfather who was stationed in France at the time. then she told my Grandmother that she’d sent the message and that my Grandad would be heading home soon.
Grandad, stationed in France in the middle of the war, couldn’t leave right away. But was eventually given a fortnights leave on compassionate grounds.
He wrote and told my Great-Grandmother that he would be home soon and she told my Grandmother.
The next part changed everything .. My grand-mother and the married man disappeared for the next 44 years, leaving my Rose aged 10, Dad 8, Mick 6 and Eddie 1 months to largely fend for themselves.
When Grandad got home, he swore that he wouldn’t go back to the army as he wouldn’t leave his kids, that was until he was marked as AWOL and the Military Police turned up at the door in the middle of the night.
The next few years, living in an already tough world of rations and food shortages became even tougher for the family not having a mother to look after them.
My dad will tell you, they did what they had to do, begged, borrowed, stole food, they were starving.
That’s the root of his social conscious and indirectly mine, children should never go without, they should be surrounded by love, protected and provided for.
No matter the sins of the parent, whether through alcohol, drugs or personal circumstances, their children should be looked after.
Dad worked as an engineer, then as a shop-steward, becoming a member of the Labour Party and has always retained his socialist views.
Dad met mum after he came home from National Service,, a few yeas later they were married, then my 4 brothers and I came along.
As children, we were poor, but only financially, we had an abundance of love and family values, that are instilled in each of my 4 brothers.
Mum and Dad had their moments over the years, as every couple does, but they loved each other and were always there for us boys and for the grandchildren when they came along.
Mum passed away a few years ago, since then Dad has missed her, but has a good social life and loves spending time with his grand-kids. He’s became more generous than he ever was when money was tight, regularly paying for the free bar at our growing family parties of 200.
For my dad, family comes first, always has and always will.
I like to think that I get my family values from him and that my children will have the same values when it’s their turn.
That’s a legacy that money can’t buy.
Tonight, I’m meeting my dad and hopefully all four of my brothers to celebrate dad’s birthday.
Tomorrow, the extended family will be there, he says that he doesn’t want a fuss .. of course he doesn’t .. but it’s a big birthday and a fuss was always going to happen.
Happy Birthday Dad, love you lots, i’m proud to be your son.
Between a father and a son
Between the city and the one
Before the teacher and the test
Before the journey and the rest
On fields of fire!!