Fathers’ Day is a bit of a weird one for me. I haven’t seen my biological father in more than 50 years. These days he’s reunited with my mum; a situation that is as bizarre to me as it is a dream come true for them. Divorces can be messy, not to mention unpredictable. The fallout and fallings out retain the power of effective ambush long after the dust has supposedly settled. Marriages may not endure as long as they once did, but dissolution can also be temporary. Love wins out, it seems, given the optimum set of conditions.
About a year after my mum remarried, in 1965, face-to-face contact with my father ended: my call. All written communication ceased around 23 years ago. Again, my decision. I won’t bore you with the detail.
Anyway, you get the gist of how my own views on Fathers’ Day were formed, at least in part.
Having said all this, if it’s a day for memories and recognition of a job well done, then all credit must go to the man who stayed the course, through thick and thin. My step-dad, Arthur. We didn’t always see eye-to-eye, but he was steadfast and dependable. I would say strong and stable, but as this is the current Tory mantra, he’d probably kill me for that. He was a lifelong Labour supporter, and a war veteran whose anger and frustration at the futility of armed conflict never left him, or diminished until the day he died.
Arthur as a fresh faced recruit.
He would have been quite happy to mark Fathers’ Day with a couple of beers and a box of Bassetts Liquorice Allsorts. Uppermost in his mind would have been the health and happiness of those he had responsibility for. If those boxes were ticked, he was satisfied.
Taking an early dip – Butlins, 1966.
Personally, I don’t see the point of having a special day of celebration. But taking a few moments for reflection and appreciation is fine, and something that can be part of every day. I realise it’s not the same for everyone.
Arthur in party mood.
This Cat Stevens number is a favourite, though not all that appropriate.