A Letter for Papp-ah

Dear Dad,

Happy Birthday. Your age still eludes me. I can only assume you would have been 65, or thereabouts. Every year I think about you on this day, but today I thought I would write you. Your birthday is oddly enough the one in the family that I actually remember. Must be because it is so close to Hitler’s birthday. *snigger*. I think I have thought about you more every day since you died in 2004, that I ever did in the years previously. I suppose it is because the shock of your death hit a nerve that ultimately changed the course of my life.

I recall speaking to you, the day before on my Birthday. And then that morning. I recall the lecture you gave me about the dude I was dating not being right for me and then later that afternoon Mom calling me to tell me you had passed away. She said it was instant and that Gary was with you. My heart bled for him. I cried. Your funeral was packed with people, you were certainly a very popular man and a social butterfly of note. There were some people there I hadn’t seen since a child and ofcourse, all came out with “no, can’t be Candice, you are all grown up”. Well, yes, surprise, it happens. There was an old lady there, who hadn’t aged. She still looked as old as she did when we were kids. Can’t believe you dropped down before she did. Amazing how things work out.

The day you died, I was reminded of the sheer frailty of the human condition. You never know when your day is, no one does and no matter how young, how old, how fit or unfit you are, when that last grain of sand falls through that little gap, it’s done, you cannot turn that hour glass over and start again. I thought deeply about things you had said, and you were right, James was not right for me, at all. You were right about a lot of things and until now I didn’t realise how much attention you actually paid to us. You were pretty difficult to get along with, you gave hidings that were not necessary, you weren’t very nice to Mom, you drank too much, the screaming and shouting phone calls really made me want to punch you in the face, but on the inside, I think you were a broken and hurt child yourself. Interacting with the world in the only way that you knew how. But I know that you loved and cared for us deeply and I really wish that you were afforded that when you were growing up. Granny Smiler was a shocker to say the least, I used to have nightmares every time we were made to stay at her house and I now believe there was a darkness that surrounded her and perhaps I shouldn’t be so quick to judge her either. Mom told me that you spent a great deal of your childhood in children’s homes, I can see why your family meant so much to you, but sometimes you had trouble showing it. I am so sorry that you had to deal with that as a child. It makes me sad to know that.

You would be so proud of who I am now.

I am sure you were always proud, even when we did some dodgy things. J I have the most wonderful man in my life and we have a beautiful son. I really wish that you could meet them both. You would adore them. George is a respectable man with good values. Although conservative, he has a childlike way about him when he is with Kelso that just melts my heart. He is good to me, he treats me well and I know that in many ways, that is all you probably wanted for me anyways. Kelso is an alien. He is into Robots and games and I think he is tapped into the universe. He loves music and having musical talent on both sides of his family (George and You), I have no doubt that he will be a an alien fighting rockstar. He is a sensitive boy. He is a fussy eater and I am sure it would kill you to see this because we don’t make him eat what is on his plate. But he is well mannered and a gem. He does have your ears. I don’t ever feel your presence, so I can only assume you don’t know what is cooking in this cooking pot. I have chosen happiness over material things. I think I get this non-materialistic nature from you. I live a good life, well, I believe I do. I believe in love, I believe in not hurting anything and I am slowly dealing with the fiery temper I have sometimes.

You always spoke of the “big kusaan”, I know who you refer to and I am so thankful that I was not indoctrinated into any religions as a child, but you would broaden the horizons a little and let us make up our own minds. I think we are on the same page. Thank you for that.

I do have some really fond memories that we never really spoke about all that much. We didn’t have those laughs as we would always think back to things, very few of those. But I sit and I smile as I think of a few things:

 Being taught how to play ‘little peter rabbit’ on your guitar, but my fingers were always too small  The most amazing food I have ever eaten  Rolling my eyes when we visited you on week ends and you would make us watch bloody 007 films or anything with Antonio Banderas in them (REALLY? Not a fan)  The magic bed – the most comfortable bed EVER!  You never buying a microwave because the price was never right  Getting lectures on how to manage my money and then getting only R2 pocket money a week  You asking us to pretend to operate on your back at take bullets out – so smart, what a way to get your kids to tickle your back – Kelso does not buy into this  Getting packets of Chappies bubble gums for Christmas  Week ends on the farm ♥ Being thrown down the slippery slide  Eskimo Pies – the cheap treats  Playing Black Jack and Polker with 5c coins  Drinking Old Brown Sherry on the farm to warm the insides  Shooting at cans at the dam on the farm  Those God forsaken denim shorts that you used to wear  Sneaking sips of whiskey from your beer mug  Putting hail stones into your drinks  Naming your washing machine Junior  The soda stream machine that you referred to as the space ship  Nicknaming Gary Noddy because he would always fall asleep in the bakkie  You ripping me at the way I used to say Carrot as a child and sharing this with my friends  Pulling our teeth out with pliers – the smell of savlon still reminds me of that  Dr Peetz and your love for hydrogen peroxide – no scars from the roasties though, so good going ♥ Your Bugs Bunny impersonations  Being subjected to ‘The Blarney Brothers’ music videos (all I can think is “Shave his belly with a rusty razor”   Leprechaun Records

So Papp-ah, Where ever you are in the universe, I hope it is where the party is at. You were always the ‘last one for the road’ life of the party. So much love in the world for you!

with love


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