The Waltons~ we were NOT!

My dad, is a funny man. A man I admire. He has been through a lot and still makes us laugh even though he doesn’t mean to! He was a dad you wouldn’t push too far, he had a temper but the years have mellowed him out. He sits and laughs as we openly mock him and his Willie-isms!

As a younger man, he ran a very successful pub. He was in the process of buying the pub when, lifting a crate of beers, he fell, breaking his back in two. I was in my mammys belly at the time. When I learned to walk, my dad learned with me. He had a walking stick for most of my childhood. He was unable to work for the rest of his life, so my mammy worked two jobs, leaving our dad to be the ‘stay-at-home’ daddy, which was unheard of in 1980’s Ireland.
Being in a large family, wasn’t fun.

Watching and sharing one TV with 6 siblings was particularly difficult…

We were not the ’ Waltons’, much to my fathers dismay, we were not even the ‘Brady Bunch’ nor were we ever going to be that family from ‘7th Heaven’.

My dad was a huge fan of these shows and used to ask us to be more like them, he’d take the remote control, change the channel to one of these programmes, tell us to sit down and watch this ‘nice’ family, five minutes later he would be fast asleep.

We would fight over nothing, but back then, it was major, I’m sure.

Our dad would walk into the room, give everyone,( even if you were quietly reading a book staying well out of the fight) a ‘back hand’ as he liked to call it. If you protested that you were innocent, he’d bellow “Well, that’s in case you were thinking about fighting with your brothers and sisters, you won’t now will ya amock” he’d hobble off, walking stick in hand.

We’d sit in silence for about five minutes then there would be a fight over who’s fault it was that we all got a smack…normally it was Action Jacksons.(Liam) And so we’d start again. My father would shout from the kitchen door, “In the honour of Jayous, don’t bring me on ye”. We’d go quiet. Then someone would change the channel and even though none of us liked the ‘Waltons’ there would be more fighting, it was the principal of it not the show change.”I’ll solve that problem now”. We’d hear him drag the chair. “Please dad no, we’ll be goo..” The TV would go black. “Out and play ta fuck, go on go on go on. I can’t even have a cup ah tae in peace with ye” he’d spit, the fuse in one hand his walking stick in the other, chair leaning against the wall.

We’d continue our arguments out in the local field, who’s fault was it that we got kicked out, normally mine, as I was quite a loud child. We’d start a game of tag (chasing each other) until my father had calmed down enough to let us all back in.

Dad would call us back in just before our mother got home from work. “Are ye ready to cop on a bit now ye shower of shites?” he’d ask as we each walked in a single file back into the hallway.”Yes dad” we’d answer in unison. “Go and watch your programme, or some of ye go up stairs and play, I don’t want to hear as much as a whisper for the rest of the day. Go”. We’d go off in all different directions, muttering under our breath.

Author

geraldinesmyth@gmail.com

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