"let your boat of life be light, packed with only
what you need - a homely home and simple pleasures, someone to love and someone to love you,
enough to eat and enough to wear
and a little more than enough to drink:
for thirst is a dangerous thing"

Monday, 13 June 2011

my father (who art in heaven)

hallo what's you name?  cyril arthur pay (not really making jokes but that was how gareth used to say "the lords prayer"... "our father who are in heaven, hallo what's your name?")

as this is going to be a bit of a family week with dalene's 50th birthday coming up on friday (a whole long weekend of being with the family - can't wait) i feel like showing you some pictures of my dad and telling you a bit about him.

my dad was born in 1935 and died in 2006.  my mom and dad were divorced when i was 6.  i don't remember things being bad as they were still pretty much good friends (and remained that way until he died).  it was not long after the divorce that my dad moved to port elizabeth. our relationship then became one of spending a week or so of our holidays with him in port elizabeth once or twice a year.
jenny, joan, dalene and cyril - probably 1965

my dad was a "man's man" (*see urban dictionary definition below).  he played cricket and soccer (and golf and bowls).  watched all sports and belonged to all the relevant clubs. he drank castle lager (and lion lager when it was around).

cyril standing in back row next to the suit

after his divorce he dated many woman (but only re-married one).  he was a bit like hugh hefner.  dalene and i were often caught between the girlfriends in port elizabeth (and cape town).  he was engaged once to a much younger woman in pinelands (while he lived and worked in port elizabeth).  she was young and pretty and thought that by bribing dalene and i she would win over my dad and become a wonderful, older-sister-type of stepmother to us.  she took us to ballets and teas and shopping for clothes.  not sure what happened in port elizabeth but a girlfriend who called my father (who art in heaven) "smokey" won that battle.  betty boop became the long term girlfriend but she was not as generous and gushy as the pinelands poppie (and did not have time for children).  i think dalene and i would enjoy betty now because she was a character, very independent, had heaps of crazy girlfriends, took no s**t and gave hugh hefner (my father) a run for his money.

my dad did get re-married later to jenny (single mom with 2 young children).  they then had a son together who is a bit younger than my brother david.   but dalene and i were growing up, getting married ourselves and i was soon to start my own family.  visits to port elizabeth did not happen too often.  my dad also spent all his holidays in port alfred and we did not get to see him much.  he continued living his "man's man" life and golf became his favourite sport.  sadly for him his second marriage also ended and he found himself back in cape town after accepting a job in atlantis.  he lived in melkbosstrand so did not come to town much during the weeks but on the weekends he always made the effort to come and watch the boys play rugby or cricket and have a chat on the sidelines.  he was quick to leave though to meet his mates at the club for a pub lunch.

it must have been hard for him to come back into our lives at this late stage and things were not really the same.  my mom had re-married when dalene and i were 10 and 12 and our stepdad actually became a wonderful father to us.   so grandfather cyril became a distant grandfather and father until he retired and moved from melkbosstrand to live with his sister in cape town.   sadly it was not long after this that he started losing his memory and eventually ended up in a couple of different retirement homes until he died in 2006.  the last years of his life were really awful.  he had dementia but was very confused and restless with it.  previously he was the most laid back placid and gentle man.  as his dementia got worse so did his aggravation with his situation.  we brought him to our homes on sundays for lunch or to visit and he would get extremely agitated to get back home and start pacing.  however, once we got him back to the frail care he would sit and cry and refuse to get out of the car.  it was horrible and sad and after his death both dalene and i had to deal with guilt about the relationship we had with my dad.  dalene being younger than me at the time of my parent's divorce was more badly affected by the divorce than i was.  we both remember sitting for hours waiting for him to come and collect us for "his" weekend, the birthday cards that were always "in the post" and the fact that there was always a young girlfriend at his side when we arrived to spend quality times with him in port elizabeth.  thank goodness that we had each other.

after someone dies you do always think about all the good things and forget the bad (the above things were not bad but did not make for a close relationship).   i have wonderful memories of my dad and i loved him dearly - his love of music - frank sinatra, tom jones and trini lopez (he always had the latest sound system and great record selection), the games we used to play on our long drives from cape town to port elizabeth, he had a throaty chuckle (dalene inherited that) and would laugh until he cried with his whole body shaking.  he was a man that you could not dislike, he had bright blue sparkling eyes, a deep dimple in his chin (dalene got that too) and incredible charm but throughout his life he put his sport and friends before his family and this came back to bite him in the bum at the end.  

this is the definition - my bit in (italics)
Who is the Man's Man?
He's the real class act. He's worldly, educated, and a gentleman. He thinks that buttoned shirts are not just for special occasions and that newspapers have more than one section. While he is polite, he is not a pushover. He will swear when he needs to, but will try to control his temper (cyril arthur never swore and was horrified if he ever heard his children or grandchildren swear (or his ex-wife give "the finger"). He can handle his liquor and keeps himself in shape. Most importantly, he will admit his faults and errors, because that is what real men do (not sure about this one). He does not have to be black or white, Republic or Democrat, Atheist or Evangelical; he just does what ever he thinks makes himself a good person that he can be proud of.  A man's man eats meat (and plenty of it), he doesn't get manicures, he shaves when he feels like it, he drinks beer not wine, he absolutely does not know French, he plays dodgeball, he works hard, he is admired for his manliness by other manly men, and most of all, he's very heterosexual. For these reasons, women want him and men want to be him (true about the woman wanting him but i don't think men should want to be like him).

NOTE: A Man's man is highly sought after by women who want to feminize him through marriage usually with negative results (how true).  Cary Grant, Gregory Peck (wasn't he gay? my mother will know), Denzel Washington are all examples of a Man's Man.

so with father's day coming up on sunday it is important to remember our fathers.  i will do, both with love (which we did share) and sadness (for what should have been).

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