Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Secret Life of My Father Part 2


I think it must have been my father’s voice admonishing me for taking my eyes off the puck during a game of indoor hockey the night before, that reminded me about my father the next morning while having coffee with my friend.

My brothers and sisters and I didn’t find out about our father’s past secret life until his funeral. He took his secret to the grave as they say. If I could think of any worth keeping I’d like to do the same.

But I’ve now learnt that once you have gone, you have no control over what the mourners might talk about.

It unfolded like this. One of my brothers was talking with one of our cousins, one of the Marsh boys. Marsh boy was telling brother how much he and his brothers loved our dad, their Uncle Andy. How they looked forward to his visits. Telling how they would save up their comics for Uncle Andy and after he’d had a cuppa in the kitchen with their mother, he would sit on the verandah and read his way through their collected comics.

Unless you have been raised by a father who has forbidden the possession and reading of comics you may not understand the consternation resulting from this simple statement. It took a while before we could actually believe it!

The old hypocrite! Letting us believe that reading a comic was equal to kissing our brains goodbye! That we would never amount to anything if we so much as looked at a comic. Reading comics was comparable to laying a book face down or turning down the corner of a page to mark your place.

No, no, come to think of it, it was probably worse! Being caught with a comic might lead to a clip around the ear whereas the defacing of a book would just get you a good telling off.

The strict, righteous father - and all the time he was reading comics on the sly!

I know that’s a pretty pathetic “secret life”. It doesn’t compare with the axe murderer or the chinaman who apparantly existed amongst my maternal predecessors. But, really, would I want my father to compete with them?

Nah, a closet comic strip reader will do me. Especially as I can't think of anything that would cause consternation at my graveside.

I can't honestly be saying my father was more interesting than I am, can I? Can I?

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