Dad.

This is me with my dad, in Prestatyn on a family holiday back in the 70s, shortly before I fell down 19 stone steps, smashing my wrist/arm in the process.
It may have been taken as we went out, where on our return, I fell down the steps, I don’t know.
I have no idea which family member took the picture.

All I know is that as my older brother and I left Mum, Dad and sister, racing up each side of a block of chalets to ours on the way back from a night in the club.
I remember running up the steps but nothing else, until I woke up in hospital with a pot on my arm and the news that our holiday would have to be cut short, we would all have to go home.

I’m told a kind man saw my fall, picked me up and carried me up the stairs to where my Mum and Dad were.

I was lucky.
Growing up, with Dad on nights, (Mum worked part time and a street full of “Aunties,”) my Dad took me everywhere with him.
To the top of the hills surrounding our family home, fishing (where we once caught no fish but came home with a tortoise we found on the way back) and taught me so much.
He encouraged me to help out in the garden, showed me how to mend clocks, took me out to spend a maximum of £20 on a toy or game each birthday, taught me the value of black treacle butties on a crust (still love them today), he held the tin with the standard fireworks in and lit them for us and showed me how lettuce and cucumber butties were ace with some salt on them (and good to stop dehydration) and countless other happy memories.

Playing board games with me and my brothers, he would drive us all potty reading every single rule/instruction before we could play.

He could also be very strict if I crossed my Mum or did something really wrong. A couple of times I felt the belt through the covers, you can be sure I didn’t do what I had done again!

One stands out a mile in my fading memory.

A half day finish from school, I was playing football in the village, when I kicked the football and it went right through a pub’s glazed window and across the pool table, making a right mess!
All my mates legged it like the wind, but I couldn’t move, I froze…

My first thought was, I’m dead, my Dad’s going to kill me for this!

I told the landlord where I lived and he calmly frog-marched me home to speak to my parents. I was surely walking the mile.

When I got home and told Mum and Dad what I’d done, they sorted the costs of fixing my mess out with the landlord. Then nothing.
No shouting, no good hiding, nothing. Just quiet.
I was crapping myself… It’s coming soon when I’m not expecting it.
For days I kept my head down, convincing myself that the worst was over, then instantly thinking it wasn’t.

It never came.

Years later I asked Dad why I never got the belt for it?
It was one of of the most expensive, worst things I’d ever done and I didn’t even get shouted at?
I was grounded for six months, including a full school summer holidays and had to give up my pocket money for all that time.

Dad’s answer was… “You didn’t run away, owned up and told us the truth!”

If only I’d known, I’d have told the truth about spilling the silver airfix paint that was stashed in Mum and Dad’s wardrobe, then wiped up with Mum’s brand new, best towels!

My Dad is much older now, I still won’t swear in front of him, but still he has that glint in his eye that I remember.
I miss not seeing him as much as I did growing up.
If I could go back to those days, just for an hour/day, I would like a shot.

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