Dad — Thank You

A son’s tribute of his father

by Wayne Alton

Dad, Russ, Andy, Pops, Papa Smurf… and as spelt out in candles on his 80th birthday cake… OLD GIT!
He inherited his Mother’s famous line, you know: “Because I don’t eat as much as I used to!”
Some more of Dad’s lines? Well, let’s see… there was:
“There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, it’s edible.”
“Oh sell by dates – what do you think we did before they started putting dates on eggs?”
“That’s better out than in!”
And my all-time favourite: “You only want a smidgen!”

Dad, thank you…

In 1968, thank you for wanting the three of us so much that you fought the battle of custody for us… and won

In 1976, thank you for the infamous dance that only Dad’s do… and with you, it was every time you’d hear ‘I Love To Love by Tina Charles’

In 1977, thank you for making my first and only go-cart with its braking system, that consisted of one screaming frightened camp little boy and a neighbour’s garden hedge

In 1981, thank you for not telling me off for stealing those roadworks flashing lights. Instead, you built a wooden frame for eight of them, covering their lenses with coloured Perspex that was to become the flashing lights display for my up-and-coming mobile disco venture. And thank you for being the roadie and chauffeur for that too.

In 1985, thank you for not only accepting my coming out as being gay but by camping it up with me so much, it’s a wonder folk didn’t wonder!

In 1990, thank you for what was to become the start of many a story about the old army days, including doing a … (yes, I am going to tell this one, too) including doing a drop over Africa and then confusing us all after a coughing fit, with the immortal line: “I nearly did a little drop then!”

In 2000, thank you for nursing me back to good health with Chicken Vegetable and fag ash soup

In 2001, thank you for that unforgettable spiritual bonding moment between father and son, as we had the dreadful task of telling you that your Betty had died

And Dad, from 1967 to 2008 — thank you for always being there not just for me but with me. Most recently, you and I, laughing so much with each blue joke that, apparently, you’d get straight on the phone and share with others that are sat here today.

Finally, one of the best qualities that you had, and that I’m hoping I will inherit in time,

…is just how brilliantly you were able to listen without bias or judgment, how little hatred you had for anyone. 

It certainly explains why so many people loved you…

From the girls and I

your grandchildren and great-grandchildren

your family in Nottingham

Gwen, Brian, Brenda, and Bob that have travelled so far to be with us today

To some of your neighbours

And then all of our friends, that are also here for you, one last time…

We love you now, no less than before,

To quote a line on the front of one of my birthday cards this year because it is just so appropriate…

My favourite memories… have you in them…

Dad… Thank you.

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