Dear Old Dad

January 29, 2012

The nicest thing I could say about my father is that he wasn’t a nice man. Frustrated with life, embittered with his lot, I represented a human piñata on which he could vent his spleen, and he did with a monotonous regularity.

With hindsight, I can look back and see that it did help to toughen me up—literally. Due to his inability to hold down a job, more than a few months at a time, I went to a different school on each occasion that we moved. Within a day or two of starting, the school’s “hard” man would challenge me to a fight in the playground, before I could be accepted by the social order. I didn’t always win, but I never came off badly, due to the “weather-proofing” my father put me through. It used to infuriate opponents when I could honestly mock their efforts to inflict pain and withstand whatever they threw at me.

Nevertheless, at the time, life was miserable and on the rare occasions when he suffered any form of discomfort, regardless of how trivial, I used to rejoice.

One of those times was when the farmer who employed him hired out his services, for a day, to a nearby mental institution. My father, who to give him his due, could expertly wield a scythe, was to cut the grass on the outside surrounds of the high fence that enclosed the premises.

He had stopped to light up a cigarette, when one of the inmates on the other side of the wire called out to him,
“Hey, Jimmy, gies a fag” (Hello, you there, my good fellow, might I have a cigarette?)
Davidson senior, surprisingly, threw his packet over to the man, who deftly caught it, took one and put the packet in his pocket.
When my father remonstrated and asked for the rest of his cigarettes to be returned the man walked off, saying over his shoulder,
“A’ the nutters ur no oan this side o’ the fence, ye dummy.” (All of the mentally challenged individuals are not wholly on this side of the wire.)

2 Responses to “Dear Old Dad”

  1. The charm is in the telling of it…another delightful example of the Davidson touch!

  2. Robert Davidson Says:

    You say the nicest things! Stop it, some more.

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