Sunday, June 16, 2013
By Norm Richards
For my dad, it was work clothes for the work day, come weekends he dressed up. whenever we travelled as a family south on the train, dad wore his best. Dad was a practical man. He loved to read the weekend newspaper especially the funnies while eased back in his favourite living room chair. He enjoyed a smoke as if it was a perfect moment and nothing else mattered.
I much preferred my dad's days after he quit drinking. Before that, he usually drank in the company of his many brothers. When he came home it was for sanctuary. Mom expected him to get sober fast and be civil. He struggled hung over but he loved us kids. Dad was a caring and sweet guy at home. He loved to joke and tell stories. Dad loved poems. He recited them to me right off the top of his head.
While growing up, we went fishing and hunting a lot. Things men did together. Never once did I ever see dad drink when we did this. He enjoyed things as a sober man. He could be a father to me and my sister. Dad worked hard all his life. He was a long run endurance runner as a young man. He was a champion boxer. He once took a French Royal expedition from the Atlantic to the Arctic Oceans overland and rivers and kept them alive to complete it. The Royal Duchess honoured him dedicating a book based on his leadership, strength and perseverance.
Before he left us, he made a special trip to the city with mom. My wife and I had a nice home on the river, two cars and good careers. Our daughter was growing up healthy, bright and smart. We were soon going to have another child. Over dinner he leaned over and said to me, “ Look after mom when I’m gone, eh!?” He meant it. You could tell there would be nothing else said about that. A month later he was gone.