All my life I’ve never known my father to raise his voice or his hand although he has been sorely tested with some of our childhood exploits. Despite this he quietly strives each and every day to make his family’s world a better place. He manages this with a heart the size of his home county Yorkshire and a twinkle in his eye.
Throughout our lives he has brought home many a waif and stray, both the two and four-legged variety. He’s carried small whimpering bundles wrapped in old towels into the house, most with a sad story attached. Assuring my mother that children needed to learn from a young age to respect and enjoy animals and this was how characters were built. The latest addition has been a young border collie that he came across on one of his walks. It was being berated by a farmer for not being a better sheepdog and lacking a more aggressive nature. My dad intervened before the animal could receive any more beatings and simply said to the farmer “Now then fella m’lad, that’ll be enough of that” and the farmer wisely sensing my father’s determination in this matter, relinquished him almost immediately. He walked him into the kitchen on the end of one of his granddaughter’s old skipping ropes and they have been inseparable ever since. So we have yet another addition to our rescue menagerie; a sheepdog who’s scared of his own shadow.
Through my Dad’s job as manager of the local village electrical retailer, he has come into contact with a number of people from all sorts of backgrounds. Over the years my Dad has brought home the odd serviceman’s wife to join us for a family meal. Many having moved to the area, leaving their families behind and when their husbands have shipped out; their loneliness in a new town has become almost unbearable.
When I was much younger, I remember my Dad turning the volume up on one of the televisions just as he was closing the shop. He would gesture to an old lady who was stood outside the shop window in the darkening evening watching some TV Soap or other. I never knew her circumstances but every evening about the same time, she would stand there waiting for my Dad to adjust the volume signalling to him when it was loud enough for her to hear. When we later updated our television for a newer model, I knew instinctively where he would be taking the old one although he never said.
As a child these small random acts of kindness tend to go unnoticed, it is not until we are older and are facing our own trials in the world that we fully appreciate and understand. I think I may have said before that my Dad is a man of simple pleasures and few words; he’s never travelled the world and never wanted to. However, in his own quiet way, he is more insightful than many that have. I know that wherever I travel, my compass will always find my way home because my father’s innate goodness will be the shining beacon lighting my way through turbulent times.