Wednesday, 15 June 2016

This Father's Day

It’s the beat up jeep, in need of a wash at the filling station.  The windows opened.  A midlands radio station blaring out dodgy Irish country music on a Saturday in June.

It’s seeing Kimberly Mikado biscuits on a supermarket shelf and mouthing ‘Mick-a-Doo’ to myself.

It’s regret that he can’t see my sons ever-growing farm set.

It’s saying ‘where my parents live’ and checking myself, remembering that it’s singular now.  

It’s the aroma that is released when I rake up sun dried cut grass in my garden and I’m transported back to a hay field over thirty years ago.  We drive through a marshy field called ‘Nancy’s Bottom’ to get there.  We laughed then, and I still smile now, thinking about the unfortunately named field.  My Mam has brought the tea in a flask, or maybe a bottle, wrapped in a towel, if the inner flask has shattered.  Super soft sandwiches.  He’s in his bare belly.  A farmers’ tan, long before the phrase was coined and a sunburnt, freckled back.  A slight pot belly protrudes over his workman’s trousers.   The smell of sweat from a day of back breaking work. 

It's him walking into a shop on a hot day, just wearing a vest, or an unbuttoned shirt and just not giving a shit.

It’s the arguments about England leaving the European Union, knowing he would disagree with my views.

It’s him, half greeting me over the Sunday papers, barely lifting his head. 

It's driving past the non de script restaurant where we all stopped for lunch on the way to my brothers wedding in Kerry two years ago.

It's sadness that he missed seeing Kilmainhamwood U14 GAA team win the county final. How proud he would have been, of Kaylem, the first born grandson.

It’s imagining him laughing down the pub, telling his friends about me ploughing a field in a JCB Fastrac.

It’s me hugging Elizabeth Mc Caul, a ploughing champion.  We cry for her dead husband and my dead father.

It’s the neatly ironed rail of short sleeved shirts still hanging there.  Some of the ones he got for his birthday, just six weeks before he died.   I wonder if he even wore them?  White, with red, navy and pale blue in a thick checked pattern.  White, with a lime green and blue, in a thin checked pattern. My failsafe gift for the man who was hard to buy for.  The gift that was not fit for purpose unless it had a pocket large enough for a packet of 20 Major.  The times that the cigarettes so infuriated me, that I bought him ‘non cigarette friendly’ shirts with no pockets.  As if this mini protest gesture by me would make any difference.    

No such gift dilemma this Father’s Day

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