Ok, so prepare yourself, this is going to be pretty epic. I'd make sure I was cumfy and had some snacks if I was you.
That said, let's move on. This post is dedicated to my Dad, and anyone who has lost anyone close to them, and I'm going to start with the story of my Dad.
My Dad was a different sort of guy. His name was Francis Joseph Hall but everyone called him Clive. He grew up in Sydney, hopping on and off trams, catching the ferry to Manly and buying penny ice creams. He was a kid during WWII and he told me about how the buses were a different colour and people had to black their windows out at night. One time, a plane took off by itself when the pilot left the throttle on and went out to spin the prop. It circled around Sydney and was shot down over the harbour. It was an Auster. If you're so inclined, you can read about it here: http://www.australianstorytelling.org.au/txt/runaway.php
My Dad joined the RAAF as soon as he turned 18 and served for 21 years. He discharged at the rank of Flight Sergeant and I reckon he missed it every day ever since. While he was in, he went all around the place-when he was in Singapore, he and his mates kept a pet monkey called Murgatroid. He used to bring it a banana every day until the time Murgatriod stole Dad's RAAF hat, bolted up a tree and ripped it to pieces.
Clive was full of loads of stories. Maybe that's where I get it from. I'm not gunna write about how he died, for two reasons: I don't wanna get sad writing on my blog, and I don't wanna make anyone sad reading my blog. Just know that he was a great man and that he lived. I get a bit melancholy when I think about a time when none of us are around anymore to remember him, so now there are a few stories about him on here, and everyone knows that once something is on the interwebs, it's there forever. The bottom line is that he died surrounded at his bedside by the people who loved and still love him. Two more things - My little sister (the aforementioned Mitchi) revealed to me when we were en route to Canberra that she still has Dad's BOTTOM TEETH!! What?? Yes, she found them recently among her things. I said to her:
'Uh... so are you telling me he's down there without his bottom teeth?'
'Man, he's gunna be pissed' was all I could muster and we giggled our way to our seats.
The second thing - My older sister told me that on his birthday this year she went down there (he's buried in the Service personnel section of Mitchell cemetary in Canberra) with her cute little poodle Shmoo (yes, she knows what the word 'shmoo' means and she doesn't care). She was sitting there shedding a quiet tear and thinking of Dad when she turned to look at Shmoo and there she was, cute, wooly, tiny little sweet shmoo humped over and taking a baby steaming turd right on top of Dad!! My sis said that all she could do was laugh, I mean, what else could you do? She could just picture Dad down there, rolling his eyes and saying 'just my luck!'
Ok, so for a little break, I'm going to insert a picture here that was drawn by a great kid who is a future roller derby star. I think there's just a little bit of me in there, but you be your own judge, I've also inserted a pic of my latest tattoo, which is me, in roller derby skull form.
Ok, back on track. Friday (the 9th) was the anniversary of my Dad's death. I always think I'll be ok, but then on the day (that day or his birthday) I always manage to slowly fall to pieces and cry myself into a sniffing mess. That is how I ended up at home on a friday night instead of out with my team having dinner. In hindsight, it would've been better to risk getting teary in front of my derby sisters than what eventuated instead.
Now, things have changed since we got a mental puppy.
Actually, lemme take a quick tangent here and tell you about something dumb that happened to me one day. When I speak, I often start a sentence with 'Now...' like when I want the person with whom I'm conversing to listen intently, cos it's usually a plan or something. 'Now, the plan for today is blah blah...' for example. One day, I was giving someone a lift home from uni in my car. As I gave way at a corner, I started to talk, using my famous sentence opener, but I paused right after saying 'Now...' as I was concentrating on turning the corner. She piped up:
'Is that what you say to yourself when you're going to turn?'
'Do you say 'now' when it's ok to turn the corner?'
*blank stare as tumbleweeds skip past my irises*
She thought that I coached myself as I drove! That when the coast was clear, I verbalised the command to my feet to perforn the pedal operations and my hands, one on the wheel and one on the gear stick to get busy and go! Now! When I was done laughing, I explained myself but I got the distinct impression she thought I was lying to cover up the truth.
Anyway, back on track - since we got Rosie the moron, Sunny has changed somewhat. We used to be able to leave her inside for 12, 13 hours without mishap, now she decides that if the puppy can pee inside, so can she. The problem with that is that puppy pee mats are designed to hold a puppy amount of pee, not and massive adult dog wee. This is how it happened that there was Sunny wee on the kitchen floor Friday night. Kat and I were chilling out, watching a dvd. I heard a dog bark outside, realised it was Sunny, that we'd locked her out. I went through the kitchen to open the back door and slipped on the wee. When I put my left foot down in the next step, it went straight onto a kong (why wouldn't it) and I rolled my ankle. Again. To top it all off, I fell into the wee and sat in it. Joy. Since I was in an immense amount of pain, soaked in dog wee, sooky anyway on account of the date and immediately aware of the meagre two week time span until our next bout, I just sat there in that wee and cried like a well-oiled crying machine. Kat came running and freaked out, helped me to the couch and looked at my ankle. She actually touched it too, not sure why. Now, Kat can't drive, and at that point neither could I, so I had to call an ambulance. Whilst waiting for them, I changed my pants, lest I smell like I had forgot to change my Depends. They arrived and were really nice. I asked them not to touch it, as it was very unpleasant for me. They gave me the green whistle. I liked it. I got into the back and told the lady all about roller derby. She had no idea what it was. I said: 'really? I should slap you' and she laughed, I think the whistle got me outta that one. When we got to the hospital, I was still sucking on the whistle and the triage nurse asked me my phone number. I couldn't remember it, but not for lack of trying. On my third attempt Kat said: 'Babe, just let me do it' and she told her.
The waiting room was surprisingly empty. To my right was a drunk asshole-type man who was accompanied by two cops, one male, one female. Apparently, he hated the male but was quite friendly toward the female. he called the male 'dickhead' repeatedly, which became really annoying and I was picturing in my head that if I was that cop I'd have busted his face open with my baton. He was whingeing all up and down about his broken foot, blah blah you kicked me in my broken foot la la whinge etc. He went for an ex ray, which revealed the extent of his injuries - a broken toe. A toe. I have broken a toe three times, twice it was a big toe. One of the times I was only in grade four and I didn't cry, even then! In fact, I came home and walked the dog! Ask my Mum if you don't believe me! Come to think of it, she didn't believe me at the time, which was why she made me walk the dog. Now that it healed like a right angle, my little crooked toe is the evidence of child abuse I was waiting for all those years I was angsty and my horrible life was sooooooo unfair...
Really, this could go on forever, so I'll cut to the chase. While I was in that waiting room, two good things happened. One was that I got the news that I had no fractures in my ankle. The other was when my friend Moira (who I have written of before on here) got confused and tried to refer to the rails on my bed as a crib, but called it my 'crypt' instead. That gave me a good giggle.
I would like to finish up with a prank my Dad played on me when I was a teen once.
Dad had a wicked pool room. Not kitchy like in The Castle, but actually really nice. Cool guns all up on the walls, great military pictures of trucks being deployed from planes with parachutes (which is one of the jobs I used to do in the army actually), collectibles etc. One of the sillier things he had was a set of two hooks that looked like fingers beckoning.
One night, I had been at inline hockey practice and as I arrived home, the theme from the Flintstones movie by the B52's was playing on the radio. I liked it (???) so I raced upstairs to turn it on up there and dance (I know, whaaaat thaaaa faaark but honestly, it happened). As I was getting my horribly disjointed shimmy on, I turned around and looked at my cupboard. There was somebody in there. I could see their finger sticking out, holding the door closed. I froze mid-shimmy, my face set in a mask of abject terror, mouth agape. The only sound I made was a repeated ape-ish 'ugh...ugh...' and after what felt like minutes but was only a second, I bolted. I thundered down the stairs, two at a time. I could hear my ragged, panicked breaths and was certain there were ominous footfalls behind me. As I rounded the bottom of the stairs and sped down the hall to the family room, there was Dad, a big grin on his face, sitting in his chair. I knew straight away what had happened. As I slowed to a stop, all I could say was 'you bastard' and all he could do was laugh. Blu-tac and a fake finger. Doesn't take a lot to fool me.
Ok, so that's it for now. After you're finished reading this, think about someone you lost and miss, but don't think of how sad it is that they're gone, think and laugh about the time they dreamed they were catching a wave at the beach, dove outta bed and broke a rib on the scales as they hit the floor. Chuckle about the time you were watching arachnophobia with all your little year nine school friends and they popped up at the window with a torch under their chin and made you all scream. Remember how proud and happy they were when they watched you command your march out parade with your medals on your chest, cos these are the things they're recalling wherever it is they're chilling out now.
Until next time,
keep on keepin' on,