My kitchen blackboard has two lists. One is headed “shopping”, the other “jobs for dad” (JFD).
I pride myself on being reasonably self-sufficient in the domestic realm. Thanks to my tradie dad, who taught my brothers and I well, I have a go at fixing most problems.
But some issues demand a call to Dad, who talks me through it with all the calm and patience of a triple-0 operator.
If the problem can’t be resolved, or if there is a fair possibility I could kill myself or the entire neighbourhood, it goes straight to the JFD.
When I was a kid, tackling the JFD list required a unique mix of physical, mental and emotional fortitude. The tasks ranged from dirty to diabolical.
For example, catching and disposing of rodents was preferable to dealing with anything to do with sewage or finding the source of a mystery smell. As our patch backed onto bush, the source of the odd stink was often a critter who had chosen the most secluded corner in the labyrinth under the house as its final resting place. We had no idea how the dearly departed was extracted, as we had hermetically sealed ourselves inside the house waiting for Dad to weave his magic. None of the remains were human, as far as we know.
Then there were heartbreaking tasks, like taking our beloved pets to the vet for the last time.
I inherited the love of animals from my father, so l have no idea how he handled it. Maybe he didn’t? But we kids never heard about that.
I can honestly say that my dad has never disappointed me. He would probably say the same about his kids, but he’d be lying.
“Don’t let the turkeys get you down” is Dad’s favourite saying and, at times, this hasn’t been easy for him, especially when the turkeys have been his kids.
My dad is not a fan of Father’s Day. Every year he grumbles “if your kids can’t remember to show their love or regard on all the other days of the year it would be a sorry situation” … or something like that.
But this weekend, when Dad drops in to check my JFD list, there will be two extra entries: “I’m sorry Dad, but your work here will never be done” and “you are loved more than you’ll ever know”.
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