See the handsome fella in the picture above? That's my Dad, Gordon, and I'm his number one fan. He's my number one fan too. Well, other than Craigy Boy perhaps, who is obliged to love me a lot.
My Dad worked in the North sea on the oil rigs as I was growing up and he was away two weeks out of every month. On the day he was due home I would anxiously await the moment he walked through the kitchen door and I would squeal with delight and throw myself upon him, not letting go until he prised my arms from around his waist. And then, on the day he was leaving to go back to the rigs, I would be up and hanging out of mum and dad's bedroom window at 6am screaming "Bye, Daddy, I love you!", over and over again until I lost sight of him as he turned the corner of Kinghorne Street. This was our fortnightly ritual and we were perfectly content with the arrangement. Even if the neighbours were less than content.
He thought I could do no wrong, my dad, even when I was invariably the source of all the trouble and tumult. My Mum saw straight through me (mothers know best) but not Dad. "She said she didn't do it". Yup, I had him twisted around my little freckly finger. He knew it, I knew it and we were perfectly content with the arrangement. In my eyes he was absolutely everything a little girl could want in a Daddy.
He used to read to us every night without fail when he was home and as such, my brother and I grew up with a deep love of reading and writing stories. In fact, we could both read and write at the age of four before we started school. That's the way Dad wanted it and we were perfectly content with the arrangement. And our teachers were pretty impressed too.
My Dad had a beautiful singing voice and I assume he still has, it has been a while since I last heard him sing. When he did burst into song it was pitch perfect despite never having had a singing lesson in his life. It's the Welsh in him which is unfortunately not in either myself or my brother. I loved nothing more than to listen to him belt out his favourite tunes - Sosban Fach, We'll Keep a Welcome, and boy, could he belt them out! I would always beg him to sing On the Streets Where you Live from My Fair Lady and he would oblige while I sat there spellbound and transfixed, looking at him in awe, wonder and admiration. And yes, you guessed it, we were perfectly content with the arrangement. Or maybe he wasn't, but he did it regardless because he knew it made my heart happy.
And my Dad has continued to make my heart happy throughout my life. His support is unwavering, his encouragement unceasing and his patience seemingly unlimited. I remember when I was in my first year at university I realised on the very day of my end of year ball that I had left my dress at home in Arbroath. I was at university in Edinburgh and my Dad was working in Aberdeen at the time. I called home in a panic, furious at my stupidity and carelessness. Dad told me not to worry and that he would pick it up and bring it to me as soon as he had finished work. It takes three hours to drive from Aberdeen to Edinburgh and it's another hour and half from Edinburgh back to Arbroath. Four and a half hours of driving just to bring me a dress. I imagine he wasn't perfectly content with the arrangement but no words of chastisement crossed his lips.
I spoke to Dad on the phone last night and without revealing why, I quizzed him about my childhood and his memories of that time. I asked him what he liked most about being a dad and without hesitation he replied:
"I liked everything about it. Best, best time of my life."
He was simply confirming what I already knew: that to him, Barry and I were at the centre of his universe and he was at the very core of my world - nothing thrilled me more than to make my Dad proud. It still does.
My Dad is going to read this post today and you know what? He's not going to like it. Not one bit. He will appreciate the thought and sentiment behind the words but he will feel uncomfortable that those words are being made public. I stand unapologetic and unrepentant: my Dad means the entire world to me and I want the entire world to know.
So Happy Father's Day to you, Gordon Davies. You are my Dad, I am your daughter and I am perfectly, perfectly content with the arrangement.
Ginger Warrior, over and out.