I'm posting from Dunedin, my home town. I flew down yesterday from Wellington. My sister drove dad out to meet me at the airport. She had managed to keep it a secret. It was lovely to see dad's joy and surprise when he discovered the reason for the trip out. I had only a week ago decided after a busy school term to make the trip.
The family had got together in April to celebrate his 80th birthday. It was a special celebration made all the more memorable because only 2 years ago he'd had a life threatening heart problem and subsequent critical operation. It has been a long recuperation for him but he is now looking better than ever. Aware that time is precious triggered my decision to spend some time with my dad.
My dad and I have had a special relationship since I was little that evolved around our Catholic faith and sporting interests.
I was brought up as a Catholic and religion played a big part in my early life leading up to my entering the Seminary to train as a Catholic Priest. My mum and dad were extremely proud of their oldest boy pursuing this calling. Sadly for them I only lasted 2 years and branched out into the big bad world.
When I was growing up my dad and I did a lot together in the sporting arena with competition fierce. We both have a highly competitive streak which occasionally could get a bit nasty. My fondest memories are having dad see me score a try in rugby when I was about 10. We also for many years played regular squash games with honours pretty even.
The sporting activity that I remember best are the early morning golf outings. Through my College years dad would get me up at 5:30 once or twice a week and we would go to Chisholm Park, our favourite golf course and play 9 holes. Sadly no matter how often I played my performance never improved and dad always had the edge.
On leaving school the activity that dad and I have enjoyed most together is going to the local pub, having a beer and shooting some pool.
This now brings me back to the present. My dad now lives at the Little Sisters of the Poor as he is well looked after there. He runs the poor sisters ragged sometimes and he is the life and soul of the Home.
After my run this morning I will be driving up to the Home to take dad out once again to resume old rivalries. Although he has become a little more frail he is as sharp as a tack when he gets on the pool table. I know I will need to be on my best form to take him down. As dad and I often say May the Best Man Win and if he doesn't I'm sure he will come up with a hard luck story or equally good excuse.
What special activities do you do with your dad?