Today, I shall be reading my dad’s eulogy, something I’m not entirely prepared for, but then who is? Anyone who knew my dad would also know of his temper, and my brother and I didn’t always have the easiest childhood as a result. But now I choose to focus on the good memories, memories I’ll share below.
Memories of my dad.
How could I start without remembering him as a Manchester United fan? Something my brother, Nathan, and I understood from a young age was you do notinterrupt a match, Alex Ferguson is the greatest manager there has ever been, and that when United score, you go deaf. Besides Dad’s cheering, there are two soundtracks to my childhood. The first is the drone of formula one. This always brings me back to sunny afternoons playing in the garden, with dad in the lounge, curtains closed and in the dark to see the cars better. The second noise would be the harrowing opening to The World at War series. Dad began my love of history, with endless documentaries, a trip to the Cabinet War Rooms primary aged children aren’t supposed to enjoy, and he’s the reason I still have to explain to people why I own a copy of Mein Kampf. History was a passion we shared, but now I’ll have to watch Dunkirk without him.
Dad was also passionate about his work. When I was at school, he turned creating a British Gas poster into a class competition, and everyone went wild for it; I’m still gutted I didn’t win. But that was the love he brought to his work, and the love he passed on. When Dad met my father-in-law, they spent the entire meal competing over who had the better job, fancier watch, and fastest car.
Cars are another thing I’ll remember about Dad. The uncertainty of not knowing which car he had each week, whether it was the Subaru, the Mercedes, or the Maserati, and whether I’d get in the right one when he picked me up from work. Regardless of which car it was, eventually, it would breakdown, which might be a comment on the speed he drove at.
Whenever I went to Dad’s, I was guaranteed a good lunch. I was also guaranteed to be eating that lunch at six in the evening. Wine would be on tap, at some point an argument would start, and we would finish the evening laughing at Dad’s awful dancing. And if he wasn’t dancing, he might be trying out his acrobatics, like the time he hung upside down from the pergola. He always kept us laughing, whether it was the holiday tattoo—the Chinese symbol for heaven, or possibly ironing—the bleached hair, or the whole Eminem’s Dad phase.
Most of all, I want to remember Dad with family. Nathan and I lost our mother young, and Dad did his best to fill both roles. Unfortunately for me, that led to many awkward conversations about, as he phrased it, “whether womanhood was imminent”. It was, therefore, lucky when Tracy came along, and she and dad tried for a place in the Guinness Book of Records for the longest engagement.
I’ll remember dad walking me down the aisle, and his insistence on what he’d wear when doing so. I’ll remember him buying my oldest son the biggest and most difficult to store Christmas present—but what one-year-old doesn’t want an Audi to drive? And I remember when my youngest son fell over, Dad gave him the biggest hug. He always gave the best, rib crushing hugs, like he was hugging for all the times we weren’t able to see each other too. I’ll miss those hugs most of all.