Happy Fathers Day Johnnie
So, close on the heels of my blog on Mumsy, it is now Fathers Day and I need to mark this day also. I also realise so many of you have lost your fathers and for that I am so very sorry. I realise again how lucky I am that both my parents have been blessed by longevity and good health. I would like to think it is hereditary however I may have blown it by my misspent youth….and adult years but we’ll see.
However, this is about my wonderful Dad. Tune out now if you don’t like gushy. Dad, Daddles or Johnnie has been my role model and mentor forever. I love listening to his stories – usually the first time is more interesting – and my sons also have a great appreciation and love of his tales of his youth, sporting, and surf club adventures. He has lived a hugely full life mastering so many different skills with tenacity, drive, passion, grit and determination. It hasn’t been easy but even now he tackles whatever it is he wants with these same qualities.
A youth spent trawling the local dump in Brisbane post war after the USA had left our shores to find ‘goodies’ has had a long lasting effect and his ‘emporium’ visits are legendary – nothing is without purpose and a good find is a reason for a twinkle in his eye when you ask ‘oh when did you get those new chairs?’. ‘Well, he will reply………let me tell you….”and a great story is orated with little credible facts but most eloquently delivered.
A hot blooded fit and healthy young man, he joined the North Burleigh Surf Club in his early teens and used to hitchhike from Brisbane with the other clubbies on patrol for a week-end on the Gold Coast. Fantastic years for him and his love for the surf club movement led to his huge involvement in getting the Rainbow Beach Surf Club up and running which is now a thriving club with both sons and grandchildren still active members – and they are quite old themselves. After that he did a stint in “National Service” in his early twenties then went into Real Estate which he continued until his seventies and even now buys or sells for himself.
A passion for sport led to him leading the First XIV Rugby, Cricket and AFL for BBC college in Brisbane and although he was pleased when school finished, he is still recogised by his peers for his sporting prowess. As such he loves to follow the exploits of his grandchildren with pride in their pursuit of glory in the sporting arena and they love his undivided attention.
His beautiful neighbour became his wife in the late 50’s and at the young age of 28 with 2 children aged 5 and 3 in tow – they left behind their brand new home in the affluent suburb of Chapel Hill to move into an old broken down Queenslander to become dairy farmers. All of their family lived in Brisbane and they knew nobody in their new town, but that is where they made their home and still live 57 years later. That to me tells more about my father than anything – a young man in the early 1950’s leaving what he knows to embark on a life he knows nothing about – and he nailed it. That is the essence of the man I am proud to call my father.
He encouraged my brothers and I to work hard and try even harder. So much wisdom that he was happy to share and he always gave a considered response to any question and still does. He encouraged us to swim so he became President and picked us up after training every afternoon at 6pm for the ½ drive home. He got a bus licence so he could take the whole team and organised a huge trip to Port Macquarie in the 70’s with all the squad being billeted and swimming on the way – it was very rare in the 70’s for teams to do this. We were involved in debating so he helped with the speeches and taught us so much. He encouraged us to try everything in life – sport, education, adventures and was always there – just one of the attributes that we all, my two brothers and I, still live by.
He never gossips or speaks unkindly or knowingly hurts others and always offers people the benefit of the doubt. His love of family is reciprocated wholeheartedly and his role as a husband of 58 years is without blemish….well he does get a bit crotchety sometimes but he is usually ignored when this happens.
His love of gardening is well known and again with Mum has planted acres and acres of manicured lawns which is testament to his creativity and passion for this hobby and hard physical work. He still raises dairy cattle, does his own BAS, paddles surf skis, caravans, loves a good red or white wine, loves fabulous food, still swims in the pool or surf, loves to cook new things for the family to try, wears Hawaiian shirts, loves watching sport and loves his beloved Wongalla – the old Halverson Cruiser he owns known well on the Hawkesbury River.
Travel is something they both love since they kicked their children out and spending their inheritance has become a way of life. They have completed one world cruise, a couple of trips to Europe and New Zealand. They have travelled extensively throughout Australia in their caravan. There have been so many trips with one being their first trip to Cape York in the old Landrover in the 70’s before it was trendy. They are off again in two months on an Asian cruise and will appreciate everything about it from their fellow travelers to the beauty of the scenery to how blessed they are to be so lucky.
Both he and Mum are incredibly frugal from being children of the 40’s and 50’s and although they could afford to upgrade everything in their home or their cars – there is no need – they don’t need to impress others – they are too busy enjoying their company and learning from them.
His sense of fair play and perseverance, his integrity, tenacity, hard work ethic, true goodness, intelligence, insight, mindfulness are some of his qualities, along with being noble, proud, thoughtful, generous with his advice, well considered, caring and a wry sense of humour all of which make our father, grandfather, father-in-law, uncle, cousin, and friend the man he is. Happy Fathers Day Johnnie – you are very much loved and respected by all and it is our good luck you chose us. Boom Boom!