My Irish, far too Irish Father

My dad~ Willie.

My dad can be the most crankiest man you have ever met.

My dad can be the funniest man you have ever met.

My dad was a stay at home dad, when we (7 of us) were children. In 1980’s Ireland, that was very unusual.

Dad is and always will be a mystery to me. He complains and gives out, far more than any body should. He seems to be at his happiest when he’s telling me “Will ya clean up your house Mac, will ya”. He always calls when my house is messy. He never calls when I’ve just had a cleaning fit, in fairness I suppose, that’s not often.

As kids we were, well I was, frightened of my dad. He had a short fuse and was quick to give ya a clout (slap), whether or not you deserved it. When he would finally find out you were innocent of the crime, he’d smile, pat your head “Well, consider that a warning for next time”, he’d never ever utter the word “sorry”. Never~ but he’d give you extra chicken that night!

He would send me (or a random sibling) up the stairs to get the yellow jumper. He’d shout “Will ya go and get the yellaw jumper, will ya, go on go on go on g on can’t ya, go on”. So naturally I would run up to get the much sought after yellow jumper only to hear my fathers usual chorus of “What’s the running for, will ya walk would ya”. I’d get to the ‘hot press’ ( a warm press,where in Ireland, you’d keep blankets and clothes as the hot tank for keeping our water warm was also in that press ) open it, look for the yellow jumper. I would never ever find the yellow jumper, I’d grab any other light coloured jumper and bring it back down to dad.
“The yellaw jumper, this isn’t yellaw”, before I could say anything he would grab me by the arm and drag me back up to show me the yellaw jumper. ” Takes five of us now to do this job” he’d mutter as he hands me the grey jumper. ” It’s grey dad not yellow” I’d be annoyed by now. “Ah shhtop will ya” he’d wander off grey jumper in hand. I’d be left to tidy up the now messy hot press.

My father is colour blind, always has been, always will be. He has never admitted to this despite the amount of times one of us have had to go up stairs to look for a jumper that does not exist.

My dad should be wearing hearing aids,(due to age) but will he? Hell no. We end up shouting at him trying to have a normal conversation with him, then he will have the cheek to tell you to ” Stop the fucking shouting will ya” as he moves ever closer to you.

He makes me laugh.

We have always had dogs. Always. At the moment dad has three, Tiny, Baby and Missy. He absolutely adores them. He has this saying, that as children we never thought any thing of it but as adults we get great a kick out of it.

It is another great Willie-ism~

“T’was me self and the dogs here, and not a word was said between us” he’d say when we’d come bursting through the door like starved wolves from school. He says it to this day, especially when Ethan bursts through his kitchen door.

I have taught J to answer him with ” Grandad Willie, let us know when they do talk back. That’s something we all need to know”. My dad would tell him ” You’re like the other crowd you!” as he would ruffle J’s hair. That’s dad’s way of telling J he is more like my husbands family than my family! If I disagree with dad he will accuse me of being like ‘the other’ crowd as in my mothers family. He believes it to be an insult…I can’t figure that one out yet!

Dad is without a doubt real old Irish style man~ he does not ‘move’ with the times. He actually tried to google google, got confused and gave up.

We have learned from past experience, Dad should not be left alone to talk with any foreigners or people of colour.
Myself and Pud’s were in his car, maybe a year or two ago, when he stopped a local lady (because she had a certain breed of dog) and asked her all about her dog. Which was fine. Pud’s looked at me, nodded as if to say,’ he’s doing ok here’, I was about to give her the ‘yeah’ nod back when we heard him pipe up, “So, where are you from ah girl’een?” ” Robinson Road Willie, round the back of the Smyth’s farm”, she smiled. “Ah yeah, but I mean where are you from, not where ya live now ah girl’een?” Puds was the first one to figure out where this was going, I was a little slower, half a second maybe. Pud’s started sliding down in the backseat, hiding form the woman.
“That is where I am from Willie” she laughed.
Oh fuck, now I knew what he was going to say next. Ah Jesus, please, please let her not take offence, please let her know he means no harm, he’s just a farmer( who never had a farm), oh sweet mother of God, I was now sweating , wishing I was sitting in the back with Puds.
“Da..dad” I tried in vain…” But sure love’en you’re not white, you can’t be Irish” . She burst out laughing. Thank God. I felt my face burn while Puds was now covered with a blanket.
“Willie, oh Willie we’ve been through this a hundred times”, she tapped his arm, “Remember how we spoke about what you mean and how you say it?” she glanced at me.
What could I say only ” He’s a feckin embarrassment , I’m so sorry, he means no harm, he..”.Dad pipped up ” She knows me Mac, I’m only asking, she knows I mean no harm.” turning to her, he smiles, “Sorry about the daughter, she can’t help but interrupt.” She was laughing holding her sides now- thank God she has a sense of humour I thought as Dad finally pulled away. “Take the feckin blanket off ya Puds. Fuck sake can’t bring ye anywhere”.

That is my dad, nosey, annoying, embarrassing, cranky, funny but by no way racist he just has no filter.

I had the pleasure of introducing him to my ( well, well, pre warned ) gay friend…but that is definitely another post for another time!
My dad~~

Author

geraldinesmyth@gmail.com

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