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Tuesday
Dec012015

Eulogy

 

Something that dates back to 2012 and deserves a home, and might be useful for anyone else in the same position as I was back then:

 

One of the things my Dad said to me in recent week was that it’s funny where you end up. And I imagine that if you would have told my Dad when he was ten years old that his journey through life would encompass travels to live in London, Bournemouth, Manchester, Cheshire, and finally to Kinghorn as well as all his countless achievements over the last 73 years, he wouldn’t have believed you. And as Neil has so eloquently highlighted, his life has been full and his spirit and endearing personality had a hugely positive and lasting effect on those people that he came into contact with.

 From my own perspective, he was simply my Dad and it’s impossible for me to put into so few words the pivotal role he has had in my life or all the memories of him that have fill my mind. He was the Dad who gave me a strong love of music which has become a central focus of my own life. He was the Dad who carried an old milk crate for me to stand on at the terraces so I could see the match on a Saturday afternoon. He was the Dad who forced me to listen to jazz until I liked it. Above all though, he was a thoroughly decent and kind man whose sense of right and wrong and strong values have always and will continue to serve me well. I am always acutely aware of the sacrifices he made in ensuring that I was given the best opportunities in life for which I have always been grateful.

Occasions such as these are naturally sad times when we rightly concentrate on the loss that we all have suffered. Yet in recent weeks, my father made me promise him that my words today would be as humorous as possible as his sense of wit was something that he always retained. He said to me “Tell a few jokes lad to get people laughing,” before pausing and thoughtfully adding, “though you’re probably best avoiding knock knock jokes.”

 But that was the mark of my Dad. He’d always find a way of lifting tricky situations. It was once said by Felix Frankfurter – who was apparently an eminent American lawyer and not as I had suspected the inventor of the sausage – that old age and sickness bring out the essential characteristics of a man, and that was true of my Dad. One prime example being the way he dealt with his Parkinsons disease that affected him greatly over recent years. I’m reminded of the time when he and Catherine travelled to St Andrews for dinner. They thoroughly enjoyed their evening meal but as they were leaving the restaurant, the Parkinson’s struck and Dad was frozen to the spot. As he was in the doorway he was being helped and partly carried by waiters and other bystanders when he realised that a young couple were patiently waiting outside hoping to go into the restaurant. Without hesitation my Dad said to them: “I wouldn’t eat in there if I were you. I could walk before I went in.”

 There were also the difficult times in recent weeks when he’d be struggling to walk from his bed to a chair. But in spite of his frail condition, he accurately pointed out that he still had far more pace and poise than the current Liverpool strikers.  

 As my Dad wished, I’ll conclude with one of his favourite jokes. It may seem somewhat incongruous to be laughing today, but I know that it what he wanted. Three men joined a silent order of monks who were given porridge for breakfast every morning. If a monk was really desperate to say something, every three years he was allowed to speak a couple of sentences. After three years the first monk applied for permission to speak. This was granted and he said with great passion and feeling “I hate the porridge. It’s always cold and there’s too much sugar in it.” After three more years the second monk applied for permission to speak and this request too was granted. “I can’t stand the porridge,” He shouted. “It’s not salty enough.”  After three more years, the final monk applied for permission to speak and after much deliberation his request was granted.  'I'm leaving,' he said. 'I just can't stand this bickering about the porridge.' 

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