When Dads could Wield Shovels

By Shaydee Lane
Patriot Realm

I have just spoken with my Mum about my Dad over the telephone and we have enjoyed a trip down memory lane; talking about old times.

Dad passed away four years ago and, as much as he has gone, he is still with us. Every day.

We both had a drink in our hands, and started to talk about what made my Dad the man that Mum and I miss so much. We wanted to paint him as a man who we love because he was so kind and decent. After a few more snifters, we decided that our gorgeous man was simply a man. Yes, a man.

You know the guy: the one who is no longer wanted, needed, regarded or respected.

After all, he is just a man and a misogynist prick because he is not gender fluid or PC these days. 

A MAN.

A real man. Not some mumbo jumbo lovey dovey silly spectre of a man. He was a real man.

He was with fault. He was dogmatic, opinionated and incredibly critical. He hated smoking and nobody could smoke in his workplace.

He despised loud neighbours. One night, I recollect him banging on the door of a neighbour who had loud music playing. The neighbours could not hear him so he simply walked in and said “Call it quits. I can’t hear myself think.”

The young tenant objected to his intrusion and told him that he was trespassing.

Dad said “ If your music wasn’t so loud, I wouldn’t be in your bloody house.”

The tenant said that he was moving away – 10 km away from an argumentative old bastard – and Dad said

“ Good. 10 km? That should be far enough.” At that, he marched off, the music died and the neighbours moved out.

God I love that man.

I remember when I was about 16 years old. I went to a dance class and it was old fashioned waltzes and foxtrots. There was a young pimply faced chap who had a job and a car. Clean shaven and thoroughly respectable.  He asked me if he could meet my father. I said NO. But he came up to meet my Dad and to attempt to ask me out. Dad greeted him.

With a giant shovel.

I have never seen a red Triumph Herald retreat so fast in reverse. Ever. I still have the image in my mind of a man chasing a car down a laneway and then declaring to me, “ I don’t care what you say, he wore winkle-picker shoes. And I do not like pointy shoes.”

And that was an end to it. I never saw that young man again. Even at dance class. It was as though he never existed.

Dad put an end to him. As he did to many others.

My father was a good man. When I was a child, my school caught fire. Dad was in charge of the only water source in the area. He had no authority to release that water to the Fire Brigade. But he did. And he saved our school, as best he could.

You see, Fathers do things without thinking. They react emotionally through love. That is their role.

My father never once reacted with cruelty or unkindness. He always reacted from his heart.

Today, fathers are not allowed to do what they instinctively feel. And that is a tragedy.

To hug, to act and react. They are, after all, men.  Probably the worst thing on this planet right now.

My Dad would probably be arrested for attempting to pummel someone with a shovel because he wore pointy shoes.

He certainly would lose his job for releasing water that was not within his authority to do so.

When men are allowed to be men, protectors and carers, hard workers and simply themselves, people like my Dad empower the rest of us.

As a daughter, as a woman, as a free thinker, I want old fashioned men and not these excuses for males who wimp off at the first sign of conflict.

Bring on the Shovel.

Photo not my real Dad!
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