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Sunday, January 12, 2014

How Fathers Influence their Daughters.

This is my favourite photo in the entire world. It’s my father cradling a three week old Pinky, circa 1910.

He was only twenty-five at the time, having married my nineteen year old mother eleven months previously (so they tell me).

Nah… I’m only joking, but apparently my dear old Nana was upset Mum had fallen pregnant so soon after marrying because it ‘didn’t look good’. What would the aunties think? It didn’t help appearances when 6 lb. baby Pinky arrived three weeks early either.

But back to Dad.

It’s his birthday tomorrow and after much determined pestering on my behalf, he finally agreed to write a guest post which will be published on Pinky Poinker in celebration of the special day.

If I was to sum my father up in one word it would be “artist”.

A painter, cartoonist, writer, landscape artist, sculptor, sketch artist, bullshit artist.

                              The coyote finally succeeds!

We grew up in a house filled with Dad’s artwork. Some of it was bloody good, some not so great.

Back in the seventies he decided to build a pool in our backyard. Not just have a pool put in, but actually build a pool. 

Every night after he finished work he would spend hours in the dark sink hole, troweling cement and grouting tiles by the light of a single light bulb, his only company a massive great cane toad. 

Julius, the toad, revelled in the swarms of mosquitoes attracted to the light globe and appeared each night to cheer Dad on. This self-imposed hard labour went on for months.

The result of his monumental effort was a fully tiled swimming pool fed by an elaborate, landscaped waterfall. It was truly a work of art.

My father undertook all of the wall-papering (big in the seventies), tiling, painting, concreting, carpentry and of course electrical work in the house. I don’t think we ever needed to call a tradesman for anything except when our huge umbrella tree grew to mammoth proportions and one day we noticed its guileful root shyly peeking out of the toilet bowl. Council plumbers were needed to dig up every plant infested pipe in the place.

After a few years living in the house Dad decided to build another story on top with a shingled roof; each shingle lovingly hammered in place by our unstoppable father.

They just don’t make men like that anymore.

                               Dad's old Falcon.

One of my earliest most cherished memories of my father was at the age of five. I’d just been awarded honours in a ballet exam and I couldn’t wait for him to arrive home so I could squeak out the exciting news.

I recall with clarity, Dad shouting in excitement and lifting me up in his arms towards the ceiling in elation. We were standing beside the dining room table; Mum laughed at us and the sun shone through a window on our right. The forty-eight year old memory is crystal clear. 

I savoured his praise then and still do now. Daughters need that demonstrative love and appreciation from their fathers.

                       Pinky and little sister Sam with Dad.

Dad is a bit of a human oxymoron; a cultivated Aussie bloke.

He imparted a love for the Fine Arts to us kids by taking us to the ballet, art galleries, museums and the theatre as we were growing up.

My sister and I now invite him to the ballet when the opportunity arises. Not that it does very often because he and Mum have retired to a place over one thousand miles away.

My granddad Bert, was also an artist and an eccentric rascal who taught himself to play the piano in his late eighties.

This is a self-portrait old Bert painted when he was probably in his mid-seventies. 

                         Bert at his ninetieth birthday.

I’m thinking perhaps my father inherited some of his artistic ability from Bert.

At first I think Dad disapproved of my blog, primarily due to the over-abundance of personal information I freely distribute on the World-Wide Web.

When I visited him last year he brought out a plethora of humorous and engaging articles he’d written for a magazine when he was about the same age as I am now. Many of the articles described the antics of every day life enacted by his wife and three kids. 


And so… father and daughter in the more mature years of their lives are bonding over the written word.

I’m thinking perhaps Pinky may have inherited some of her minimal artistic ability from her father.

Happy birthday my darling father xx

                                     Being a Granddad.