Well the funeral was over and done yesterday. Went into work today but came back early (via the spinners' guild for some supplies, wink wink) cos yeah....
The funeral was good. An old family friend did the "ceremony." Actually, he did do some ceremonial stuff - my old man was a Freemason so he had a short (in time) mason's funeral ceremony. I would've been ticked off if Father hadn't got some recognition cos he was a mason for over 50 years and at one stage was on the Grand Lodge of Victoria. He was secretary of the local lodge for long enough (though he couldn't have done it without Mum's support and organisational abilities). When I was a kid I remember many days of mixing Philly with some devilled ham spread and then smearing it on Clix biscuits, or smearing some other mix on or little bits of cheese on bikkies, etc, then arranging the lot onto platters. That was for lodge meetings or even the committee meetings held at Home. I also remember sticking up a NO SMOKING sign by the front door with great pride cos one of the men in particular smoked like a chimney and it made me (and the rest of us) ill. I still get asthma from cigarette smoke. (hint for Laurie - give up the gaspers when you come to Oz)
People are supposed to cry through funerals. Janice and I didn't. Some of it we were practically giggling at. Especially when Rick, the celebrant, said that we would remember Jack, the good times, the laughter, the pressure of his hand. Golly, he could demonstrate hand pressure all right! Made my poor wee bottom smart on occasion! We found out things like he was excellent both academically and at sport (hey, where did my sporting side go? I got none of that!). He was offered a place at Uni Sydney to do engineering but took up with Holden panel beating cars, when cars were made by hand, in Fisherman's Bend. We always had Fords cos the old man said he had seen the sheet metal that went into the Holdens he made.... He tried to go to WWII three times and got sent home again cos he was in the fire brigade, making firetrucks. He was in his element in the social thing but was not so sure about this parenting thing. Protective of his girls he used to get embarrassed (which made him angry) when we dropped in to the panel beating shop on the way to the footy - he'd always make sure the girlie posters were turned over if he knew we were coming. (this was in the 60s and 70s) He apparently never saw any particular reason to differentiate between his treatment of his boy and his girls. We went fishing but he had to put the bait on the hook for me, Janice and Beth. If I had had a clue I should've gotten him to show me some basic panel beating. He had an excellent eye for matching colours - none of this stuff where you see a car with an obviously resprayed door for him! Some of that I learned. Sometimes I can pick out where a car has had rust resprayed or bog put in, and I don't mean really bodgy jobs but good ones.
The wake was very much a family affair. I talked to a first cousin once removed that I have never talked to in my life. He's probably 10-15 years younger than me and such a serious thing. Janice and I gobsmacked him. We are "different" apparently.
It interests me that I did not realise my father was a clever man. He didn't talk much about thinking stuff. He was a doer really. He taught me the basics of gardening, fostered in me a love of plants. I can remember planting broad beans with him and waiting impatiently for them to come up then being gleeful as the first shoots make the clay soil crack and break open. The whole family likes getting into the garden and growing vegies and fruit. He built the bed I slept in for over 20 years of my life (yes it did have a mattress on top and no he didn't make that). He enjoyed a beer and a joke with his mates. Getting him angry was never a good idea - he was born a redhead and he had a redhead's temper. "Wait until your father gets home" was a threat that stopped any bad behaviour on the spot unless you were really wild or stupid, or both. He nursed Mum through her cancer - I was doing honours and that was more important to Mum than me helping nurse her. Probably a good thing cos I have never been a good nurse. Finally the last, lingering loss of everything that had enlivened my father's mind. He was left being a kindly old bloke always willing to lend a hand, helping out with making beds at the nursing home and pushing the meals trolley around. The fall in December was the final blow - loss of his remaining independence led to a pretty quick deterioration. He was ready to meet his maker. So he did.