TO MY DAD, A SMALL TRIBUTE
I am sure we will have common thoughts of regret and guilt about losing a father. My father was an honourable man whose funeral was attended by hundreds; so that many had to stand outside the chapel. He was a unfamous celebrity at the end and people respected and even loved him. I have half his genes but will never have half the people at my laying to rest. I thank him and all my ancestors for those genes since they are great. I do not forget my mother who died at 47, her genes were the gentle feeling kind, the mildly angry at unfairness kind, the caring kind; ideal to temper the DNA of the Crowther’s into a massive force. I am proof of that. Thank you both. Dad’s life can either be left to settle existing in only memories or paid tribute through hard copy. I need the latter and suspect many like me, do too.
Frank Crowther, my Dad, died just before his eighty-first birthday. His eightieth had been spent with me in Vienna, Austria, and I am so glad of that. He came over from Wombwell, South Yorkshire, England- his sole habitat, and enjoyed himself with me and my partner at the time, now my beloved wife. The coming-over was a continuum of we two getting to know each other better in the last two years he had; letting the pride each of us or the other show. It was a landmark and I miss the opportunity of our mutual education. He is dead and I am alive. He should not have died from the aneurism as he did. The saga of his missed diagnosis of cancer some years earlier and how any operation was out of the question, hammers into me every day. He was wasted by the incompetence of the medical services, their confusion and poor behaviour, their fault. I am sure that the bile will spill over later in this, so I close my eyes and grit my teeth at this point resisting the urge hammer the keys of my innocent laptop.
It might be easier to spell out his life chronologically, but this temptation to simplify is not in me. I miss him and memories fidget as confusion. He was a pit man. He worked in a colliery. He walked almost every day of every seven day week to that pit. He was a pit-top man, not a miner, he was a blacksmith- a term left over from the days of pit ponies which had to be shod form their gruesome task of hauling coal to a shaft where it was hoisted. He worked with iron and steel, he had a forge too, I remember seeing this when young and being surrounded by my Dad and his mates, all black faced and being excited by the red heat and the smell of the place and the massive hammerings and crashing all around. It was like bonfire day.
I know very little as to how he got there. He told of the day when his career was shaped, when his father, also a Frank, seeing him working on school matters on a very rare sunny day at Blythe Street in Wombwell, told him to get out and play. He let his work go and the teacher, as they say, 'lost it and demoted him from the top stream to a class of no hopers, where examinations or scholarships were denied. So, no money for higher grade schools and on to the secondary modern school and obscurity. He left at 14 like thousands of others and went into the pit, a great name on reflection. I know he enjoyed his work. My mother definitely hated him working there. This is my complex, my sheen on things. I am calling the tune since both parents cannot answer back. Maybe I should say that I am now 66 and being born in 1947 can remember the grey-black times. The times where things were either black or brown; clothes, shoes and in South Yorkshire almost everything was subdued. The shops dreary, the clothes hanging out to dry black flecked with coal dust in ten seconds, a sure indicator of the massive polluted air from the thousands of coal fires which palled their smoke every day over the town. This was the classic tiny house territory, the two-up, two-down, spatially challenged society but they did not know, I did not know. Pre-television, we were all in the same boat. We were uneducated in all ways, dental hygiene was a joke, the medical services were a joke. There were no standards and so we behaved like the animals we still are, we got on with life and life I suppose was hard. I add here that I was the happiest of children and nurtured as best my mother could. I grew pleasantly fat up to eleven and would have continued so except I escaped into a more educationally forward looking grammar school and of course developed hormonal vigour.
Back to the work, my Dad the provider, working as I said 7 days a week on day shifts, night shifts and double shifts. Where the time for his wife? The answer is nowhere. He slept most of the time he was at home. This grieves me for my mother’s sake, but I probably overdo this, it is to obvious that he did this, he worked for the family but maybe later, when more financially secure, he worked or his mates and the comradeship. He overdid it and overdid my mother, a criticism of him from me and stated many times to him whilst alive. He took it without argument, he knew, but this is no victory. When my mother was diagnosed being past any medical intervention he of course mellowed, realised that he loved her and wanted her time. It was too late and it gutted him when she died, though we never discussed this until near his end. Pictures of them at 20 were found as I scrabbled my way through those things on house clearing time, an occupation which is displacement surely. The two of them are lounging on a beach, Mam laid back with my Dad leaning on her chest. It is lovely and a reminder to me at least that parents were once young and vital and excited by each other, they look so comfortable and it is the feeling I have now with my wondrous wife. It is timeless.
I am not saying that this situation of graft was uncommon in the men folk of Wombwell. They teamed up at work and shared the manly life. The women did not mix except to acknowledge each other as they hung hand washed, then later, machine washed sheets to dry. They seemed isolated to a woman, prisoners of their house and children, the sole nurturers. I remember their uniform of pinney and head scarf of various patterns but really all the same. They cleaned and scrubbed against all odds. I feel like running off now and drinking to their combined health. There should be a memorial erected to all the women of the north, I shall work on this.
Television now leaps up in my memories, a salve to women, so this is maybe why. The first TV in my yard of 6 houses was two doors down. The man let us kids watch this through an open door. It had a screen about 10 inches wide and the picture was horrible, but Oh what a treat. Later my father t relenting on his more usual high-horse resistance to buying anything, bought a Bush TV. I remember that we, as a family, watched this screen everyday even though the same programmes were on, the same style and even we watched the test card. This was a device for tuning your TV and it came up before programmes started, maybe for half an hour. We watched that religiously for about a year. My dad was the only one allowed to deal with the problems that seemed to haunt the Bush. He was the only one allowed to bang the side at a certain point to bring the picture back to a frenzied flicker, or bring it back from a blank screen. He also repaired this through contacts at work who knew exactly which valve was faulty and who could get the needed valve cheap.
Holidays were a feature of my Dad. There was always the family holiday, first with me and then with me and my sister. For my first 15 years it was to New Brighton just south of the Mersey and opposite Liverpool. We almost always went to with Mrs. Evans’es in her B and B. Apparently it was tradition that you always went back to the same guest house until the owner either died or retired. The usual rooms we had were in the attic that smelled of damp and breakfast. Our holiday there was 2 weeks and it was very exciting at least until I developed other hormonally driven urges other than going to the beach and playing endless beach cricket. The journey there was also a travel sickness nightmare for me and no doubt for my poor parents. One hour before we departed I took a Kwell, a pink tablet which I had to chew since I could not swallow pills at all, The taste made me sick. Then it was a bus from the bottom of the road, a walk of some 1 minute, to Barnsley bus station. Then a bus to Manchester, then one to Liverpool. I was sick on the bus to Manchester without fail. I was then fine and everyone else green. Then though the crowning glory of the adventure, a ferry trip across the Mersey. This was magical and I still occasionally dream the ferry ship and its unusual smell. A swift walk up a short hill to Mrs. Evans's followed. She was always old and never changed. We would take tea and then set up for the two week routine where my Dad, unburdened by work, would have to seek family pleasures, and I do not think he was that comfortable in this. The classical family holiday of that time was ours. Dad seemed concerned most with the budget, so getting anything out of him for pleasure that was not planned was hard. I suppose he was treated this way by his Dad when things were really tight. From 15 onward we had a new experience with holidays, that of the caravan situated at Mablethorpe. This at last gave freedom from the B and B where we had to be in at certain times for food, At Mablethorpe we could, or mum could anyway, have massive fry ups whenever we wished. Mablethorpe is a sleepy speck with little entertainment but it has massive beaches of golden sands and dunes upon dunes. Dad was back as master in chief of the caravan and soon set up the routine of when to get up and when to shop and when to eat and what to do. We the family of four were content enough. These holidays were inevitably sunny and we burned in the shelter of the said dunes since the sun had not achieved its current status of cancer giver and skin was meant to be a glowing red by day two of any holiday. Peeling was the consequence of a successful holiday and pain a mere annoyance. However, we did have camomile lotion in a bottle which was pre war and we were often pinked up when our skins were on the verge of catching fire. We often looked like a family of aborigines. Dad enjoyed these holidays more I am sure. We would walk from the caravan each night and down to the main shopping area which amounted to little more than establishments selling junk. There was one arcade though where slot machines and games were available. Dad would outrageously allow the spend of maybe a whole sixpence in old coppers (large coins worth a penny) on a machine where you fired a steel ball and it went down various slots to reveal a jig saw, the pieces would become apparent when the ball riffed them in lines revealing part of a picture. To win you had to complete the whole jig saw and Dad was fascinated by this since it was a challenge, which he liked and it was cheap. Gambling was not on his order of things at that time and he frowned when a penny was wasted on the pull of a handle. Twenty balls for a penny was his cup of tea.
I am thrown back to New Brighton suddenly where at the beginning of a two week holiday, I jumped off a high wall onto sand and sprained my ankle very badly. My mum was as I know now in the middle of a horrible depression. My Dad was obviously beset with dealing with this because I was almost entirely left with my injury. My mother’s last straw on her holiday, me a cripple and no doubt whining like a dog. I remember too the men in black who appeared at our house with a large suitcase and who went upstairs to mum who had taken to her bed. I now know she was given ECT, what seems to me a barbaric practice. Dad was silent at this time. I was about 6 or 7. I say this to start grabbing at my memories which are more hidden in me. This was a pressure for my Dad and I suppose is part of the things that made him. He must have been bewildered and pained for his wife. He must have been frustrated at having his routine messed up, his work pattern disrupted by my mum being ill. Later when Mam was nearly dead, he was tender with her. They came down to see me as a team for once and mum in new clothes. She looked wonderful. A few pictures of her as a young woman are testament to seeing what Dad wanted and had back in his youth.
My sister thrives and has a wonderful family and husband, I raise my metaphorical glass to her and her’s. I shall have to ask her to write her own Chapter on Dad, it would be very interesting. She was the one left behind when I went to University, the first of the family to do so. I left her and my mother as was said, my Dad did not seem to crop up. I leaned recently from my sister that as I left the first time and went down the bricked yard, that it was said that there went my mother’s life, or words that effect. Things would never be the same again was another thought. I did not know, nor do I know now, what powers I have, what my being alive does to people. When you are given a talent then do not fear it being loved. This is complicated and out of the blue here in this Chapter but I want to tie this up with my Dad’s talents at some time. He could not help himself giving although he would deny this, he was loved for being himself and despite examples of apparent failure in communication, overall he was a beloved man. It helped he was attractive physicall with his anti-aging high cheek bones. I now remember the vanities too particularly when we grew more intimate in the last few years. Giovanna my wife, was treated to him relaxed and having a swill. A swill is an interesting phenomenon and involves washing oneself at the sink. We can define a 'SWILL', a 'FULL SWILL' and a 'WESH' as is pronounced the wash in South Yorkshire. A 'SWILL' involves not taking off your vest and washing face and arm pits. A 'FULL SWILL' involves taking off vest and washing all the upper torso. A 'WESH' is being dressed and washing the hands and face. These were the only ways to wash until bathrooms were supported by a more enlightened administration who threw grants at people in the late 50’s and early sixties. We had our bathroom when I was 11, in 1958. Before that it was all hands to boiling water on the gas stove and filling a zinc bath and bathing in front of an open coal fire which positively melted your soul. The clothes horse was the only screen of your nudity. I do remember people actually coming in when bathing and there being nothing startling about it. Our first inside toilet also accompanied the bathroom. Before this it was a 25 foot march across the yard to the outside loo. The loo is still there though last used may years ago and now full of junk from a neighbour. I actually liked the loo. It was as with all men I know a sanctuary. In winter my Dad hung up a lit miner’s lamp to stop the pipes freezing. I remember the smell of the methylated spirits used in the lamp. I also remember the toilet paper used. My dad used to use the Radio Times for this purpose not wishing obviously to go to further expense in buying commercial stuff. The ceremony of cutting the Radio Timed to shape for the toilet was quite impressive and Dad showed his eye for precision. Each whole page was halved and neatly piled with the rest of the cut pages. Then he would use a very large needle and pierce the cut pieces in the corner. This needle would then be threaded with stout string and then finished of in a peculiar knot. I was young and I always watched him do this, it was my dad doing something important, nay crucial. Other men did this too but with maybe kinder newspapers such as the Daily Mirror which I am told did have more absorbency. The toilet pad would then be hung on a nail in the outside loo. I shall not dwell too much on the quality of the paper nor its suitability for wiping your bottom, except to say that the paper was hard, did not adsorb fluids or solids at all and left a heavy newsprint impression every time it was used. However, in his defence of this practice, the commercial toilet paper at the time was much the same except for the news print.
I mentioned knots above and am rushed into an area which I had forgotten completely. Dad was a scout master too. This was a major feature of his life and I had overlooked this. In context of his 7 days a week work practices it is a major issue. More again for my poor mother to suffer? Not only did he work 7 in 7 but in his sleep time went of to run the Scouts every week, plus he always organised and ran and went to a scout camp, without my mother. I did have a slight advantage in that I became a cub then Scout and was at least in contact with my Dad through that for a while, until I was maybe 16. Contact maybe too strong a word for I remember he did keep his distance through presumably wanting to be fair to others and show me no favouritism. He rarely showed any pride outwardly but when I received my Scout chords (having achieved many badges etc.) he was so moved, he cried. That’s my Dad. He also cried more and more as I got to know him in these two years I mentioned. He cried when we parted. I cried too. I tell my own children not to waste time, not to assume me, to enjoy me as I am now for regret is surely far too late and a useless feeling. After this time I left being more concerned with Grammar school things, sports and girls, which ruin all pure thoughts engendered in the Scouts. I also at that time left the Methodist church and no longer attended Sunday school twice on each Sunday.
Pride incidents then are few. I knew deep down he was proud but of course when young you need some physical manifestation of this to know that your dad or Mum loves you. You want to please them and when you do you need to know. My word, I have heard thousands of people with the same grouse about no pride in their parents. The assumption that children know might be true but, even as I knew, it did not replace and would have not replaced a hug of appreciation. It works both ways. Hugs? I cannot remember one from Dad until near the end. I can remember his warmth as he fell exhausted on his knees before a chair. His knees on the floor he used to sleep like this and I when very young would snuggle into his back and sleep too. That is a sweet memory. My Dad was presumably never hugged too. What a pity. I can believe that given that I knew my Grandma Lavinia for ages. She too unhugged in a long line of unhugged folk. She into service at 13 or 14 and away from parents. So why should she hug? I am glad I had the chance to hug Dad even tough late in life. Always hug is my advice, the physical connection cannot be underestimated. Maybe we are a society of unhuggers. I wished on my family the huggers mantle, I think I have failed. I can only hope to hug anymore.
When my mother died I was no help to Dad. She went poof and that was that. My guilt here encouraged rather than my assumption that Dad was OK. He had a saying of sorts which went like this, ‘If I don’t hear from you then I know nothings wrong and that’s OK.’ I simplify, but I think this is what he felt. This was passed onto me and I still struggle with not going along with this feeling. He was not, and I should have helped him with closure. In fact he never had this with mum even though eventually he shaped out his new life with another long term partner.
I am jumping to things I learned around his funeral time. One very old lonely lady made the supreme walking effort to see me to thank me for my dad and to say how much she would be miss him. He was a long term stick chopper and in the back yard (as in picture) he had his ramshackle shed. In it he sawed up window frames and any other free wood and chopped them into firewood which he delivered personally to raise a little money for his beloved scouts. The lady told me how she so looked forward to his visits where he was cheeky and delighted her. She missed him, her one real contact with the world apparently. A small vignette to illustrate what he did in his locale then. Such people are the salt and pepper of the earth we should not forget that (I often do).
I noted a few headings that need to be aired.
Throwing water on me
My cricket match
Never a rugby game
Sam the dog dying
Is it art?
Sister's birthday party
Telling him how it really was with my divorce issues
I hope that they produce a little curiosity into the read. I shall explain them briefly, all show Dad as he was. In reliving these memories, I struggle with the waste that was my father's death, a point I made above and will no doubt dwell on it again.
Throwing water on me
This is my father finding me in bed on a school day. I did have a bad stomach, a not too unusual event in South Yorkshire's salmonella belt. Anyway he signalled to me to get up from below, I resisted and indicated that I was 'badly' ( a correct term in Yorkshire for not feeling well). He would have none of this, no doubt feeling that he was the bread winner and that he had worked all night only to have his layabout son malinger. He threatened something or other, but I did not hear and sank into bed further knees rising. Next moment I was wet , wet through as they say, and it was my father who had splashed cold water onto me to get me up. Of course this was humiliating and unfair, since later that day I was to have severe vomiting and diarrhoea due to what I learned later as a microbiologist was classic staphylococcus food poisoning. I have no recollection of my father's opinion on the 24 hours of overt spillage from either end of my body. He hated laziness then and I was a teenager with the rising privileges of the nouveau northern young. I did not learn anything from this except that dad's threats were carried through, 'never say now't if tha dun't mean it'.
My cricket match
This is the only time when dad came to see me perform as a sportsman. I was good at cricket and excelled at rugby. Mitchell's Main was a now long gone colliery and they had a cricket game. The field was a medium walk from our house and amazingly my father turned up to see me. Nothing extraordinary happened except that I was cheated out whilst batting when the wicket keeper flicked off the bails with his pads (all this is purely technical to most readers and totally not understood). My father went besirk when he saw this and complained bitterly that his son was cheated out. A scene arose between the umpire and him and it was not pretty. He defended right and when I was involved he seemed uncontrolled, even being stimulated to utter a swear word or too, not common for him except for the ' bloody' which was the stock cement for most Yorkshire men's sentences.
The 'never a rugby game' can also be slotted here, just to say that he never saw me play. I regret this since I know he would have enjoyed it. My mother on the other hand would never have watched since she valued my safety above all and could not bare to watch me collide with others.
This is a painful and fond memory. Dad had spotted an old building that was made of red bricks. It was falling down and in a field some half a mile from out house. It was also at the bottom of a long hill. I must have been about 8 when he announced that we as a family would go and hike the bricks back in an old cast iron wheel barrow. We walked down, mam, dad and possibly my sister though if I were 8 she would be too young to pull. We crossed from the lane into a field and then to the old hut. Dad loaded the bricks and off we went. We had ropes attached to the front forks of the barrow and mam and I pulled. What a sight. Of course flat was not too bad, but up hill was purgatory. The purpose of the bricks was to lay them down in our back yard and the hundreds of red bricks are still there. The hundreds mark the many trips down the lane and back. I suppose this was a family activity and that at the time it was not unusual to see families doing strange things. Nowadays I am sure that this would not happen. Dad then was being thrifty even though as a family we sweated and toiled and were wounded by the episode. His thriftiness was a feature and he did not like wasting anything. His chopping firewood was a legend (mentioned above) and most of the wood came from old window frames which were free and delivered I am sure by his mates. Even the shed he chopped in was a solid but ramshackle collection of bits of door and planks. Incidentally the picture shows the shed and also the outside toilet to its immediate left, the toilet which housed the miner's lamp in winter with the smell of methylated spirits and the dim light picking out the neatly skewered newspaper toilet oblongs! Also note the bricks in front and feel the effort there!
Sam the dog dying
After my mum died Dad was devastated. I am as guilty as he in not sharing this. He had one sole survivor at home that was Sam the dog who was a stray and stayed on for almost 18 years. Dad came to see me in Surrey and of course he came with Sam. Unfortunately Sam died shortly before Dad was to go home and I believe this was a loss for him, another aggrieved situation to pile on top of him. There will be no more dogs, he said, and this was what he said before Sam arrived. I loved that dog and he was a tremendous companion to me as a teenager. He was a reason to rise up and walk, a joy to play with. He above all loved the sea and sand and would revel in every minute of every day at Mablethorpe, where he splashed in the sea and dug furious holes. His collapse at night was wonderful to behold, an exhausted happy animal, a massive sigh then deep sleep. I still miss him and dad certainly did too, another link gone to mam.
But is it art?
I am so glad Dad came to Vienna to visit. Along with Kathryn his girl friend and her son and his girlfriend. We had a great time. My dad entered our flat and perused the many paintings on the walls and in the toilet and almost everywhere. His first impressions were not good and he voiced this as usual. 'Ah can't see what there about' Anyway as we progressed as tourists we discussed what is art and I indicated that everything might be. He got into the questioning then at seeing unusual juxtapositions of objects in strange places. He was wonderful when he spotted an abandoned baby carriage on the corner of a very busy street in Vienna. “But is it art” became a running question from then on. This was cemented when we spotted an immaculate wheel barrow standing outside w the window of a very high class jeweller. A photograph is proof in albums of Web site. The barrow was clean but contained rubbish, the contrast was interesting, “But is it art” Dad said. I will say though that he was not adverse to seeing things in a different way once primed. We bought him a digital camera for his 80th birthday which we celebrated on the visit and he definitely took to looking for pictures of the artistic nature. He was thus in a way released from strict lines of observation. Gis m ay be too high and might but in dad I saw myself, or rather I could see more of myself in him, which pleased me. He later confessed to liking several of my paintings including a nude in a bath! The one below he liked.
Ironing money- in the light of the current world financial crisis
I came home from University unexpected after mum had died. I entered the house and saw my dad ironing money, large 5 pound notes were everywhere, some hanging by clothes pegs, some littering the family table. My dad stood at the ironing board looking sheepish. I laughed and asked him what he was doing. He explained that he put all his money each week (paid in cash then) down the cellar behind a loose brick or two. The cellar was wet and consequently the money got damp. I had to laugh but he argued well that the reason he kept the money was to avoid paying taxes on it. I asked if he had considered a bank and was met with his rising aggression at the establishment. 'Not bloody likely, they take all your money in tax if I put it there'. I explained over the next two hours that only a percentage of the money was taken and that the bank also gave interest and that this was taxed. Gradually I convinced him that it was more profitable to secure money in the bank than to have ot decay behind bricks. Of course the more recent events with banks endeavouring to cheat the common man out of their earnings is testament to my father's original security arrangements, at least he would have kept the cash. Anyway, he became quite a banker man after that and linking to the then governments share out of shares in electricity and gas and whatever else was being given to the common man. I suppose that my dad was the first person I had seen laundering money, a term which was not around then but which would have been funny to us both if it had.
My sister's birthday
I have a lovely sister but we do not see a great deal of each other. On the event of my daughter's marriage a unique collection of family got together namely Dad, me and my lovely wife, my sister Kathryn and her husband Michael, Michael's Mum and eventually Michael junior. Giovanna prepared a marvellous dinner and we all sat and admired then tucked in. The conversation was familial and then suddenly we started to sing. Scout song started it, my father ran many a camp fire and loved the songs then we drifted into other songs. I say we, since ll the family appeared top be singers. My father sat this out in the main but his face shone in enjoyment. My rendition of Sun Arise and Michael's performance of Mac The Knife with grunts substitutingng for words had Dad in a kind of ecstasy. The photograph of this makes my heart ache with delight and regret that there a cannot be more evenings like this. His face shows it all and I am so glad that the moments then gave him so much please. He so enjoyed rhythm, drums and trumpets level and his ecstasy at the nights activities shines through in this photograph. Hey Mr. Tamboreen Man.
Telling him how it really was with my divorce issues
I went through a divorce. My Father as per usual and our family as a whole was left out of any discussions by me and he was a victim of my ex-partner's abuse of the truth. He suffered with the seeded truth that I was a flagrant ignorer of my children and that I had abandoned the and worse things. the tongue was quick to poison him from ex-wife's mouth. However, at the time of the visit he made to Vienna he sat in Schonbrunn Park and talked to my 'new' wife for 5 hours. She told him the truth, he asked questons, he was happy. His belief in me at whatever distance was renewed, his seed verified as honest then. His happiness at the time is shown in the picture with his partner Katherine. See him also wearing Giovanna's sunglasses.
He was introduced to dancing for older people by his partner Katherine and soon he was running things. The hundreds of CD's and earlier vinyl records carefully annotated and recorded in a book were his testament to running dances around 5 times a week. He was loved by the dancing community and always was reliable and fun. He was missed by them all.
A picture I love of my Dad is from when he was relatively healthy at a trip to the seaside place mentioned before, Mablethorpe. Here we had the incident of eating the World's largest pork sandwich. I hope the establishment serving these sandwich joints is still there and I would recommend a visit if only to behold the ladies hand wrenching the pork joints into the massive slices of bread. This was just before the troubles leading to his untimely death due to clerical errors in the Health system. I fought them as long as was possible but eventually the slime of the insurance companies dragged me down and his death was passed over without retribution. He died alone and quickly I am told with a massive aneurism. He died in his newly decorated bathroom with its power shower. I talked to him the night before he died and asked whether I should not come over from Austria to help him attack the palliative radiation treatment. 'Ney, it dun't matter' he said , Ah'll be alreight'. I miss him more than I thought. We were parts of each other distanced by the very same genes. I wrote a novel before he died and parts explored my relationship with my dad through the actions of the 'hero' of the novel. He had never kissed his Dad until he saw him dead on a table. Thank God I kissed mine and thereis a picture or two is to prove it. He loved it, I loved it and I recommend any son to kiss his Dad immediately. As a father too, maybe I could recommend to my daughters the same.
I have many more memories of this 'common' man but stop here having somewhat salved my emotions.