As those who know the Grumbler will be aware, my dad passed away fairly recently.
Of course, this hasn't been the happiest event in recent history from my perspective. I vividly remember the last words he whispered to me and while I know why he said them, and even agreed with him, they still made me feel sad. Until today.
It's important to note that it hasn't been without its own, sometimes grim, sometimes ironic, humour. I don't think dad'd be too upset if I shared the funnier bits and, frankly, even if he would be, he's not here to tell me so.
For example, Mrs Grumbler surprised and delighted me last Christmas morning by presenting me with a pair of tickets for the forthcoming (and now past) Monty Python Live shows. I told dad about this, but he wasn't overly moved, having intensely disliked the Flying Circus. As if to underscore the point, he passed away on the day I was due to actually go and see them. So, of course, I didnt.
The old chap was looked after, in his last days in intensive care by two very nice doctors; one of whom was not a gynaecologist, and the other of whom was not an oncologist. This is not at all funny until you know that the lady and gentleman are respectively known as Dr Feeley and Dr Touma. Say it out loud if that helps.
I've been both lauded and lambasted in the past for talking and writing a "load of bollocks". Despite its funeral overtones, this post will be no different - if anything, more so. Dad was most definitely a
As I laboured in the summer heat, filling black bag after bag with rubbish, and plastic crates full of stuff that I haven't decided is rubbish yet, I started to feel guilty. Here I was, chucking away stuff that dad thought was worth keeping. It's, well, it's disloyal, isn't it? I began to worry what he'd be thinking if he was watching me and , as I continued, I felt quite certain that he WAS watching me. Odd, because I knew dad hadn't been in that room for over a year. I think my
face even went red. Sure enough, I came across a little 'ring box' and opened it up... Eye've a fair idea where that came from too.
Eventually, I reached the point where I'd almost finished one room. I realised there was one thing I'd been moving from place to place without making any decision as to whether it was trash, or a keeper. I couldn't really put the moment off much longer, so I picked it up, and stared at it. What was it for? Why on earth did he have it?
Here it, or should I say he, is. on the left. Imposing gentleman, isn't he? I reckon he's a butler.
Closer inspection revealed a small switch under the base. With a childlike sense of wonder, I slid it to on.
I dropped him faster than I would if he'd turned red hot in my hands as, with a mellow strength and vibrancy I haven't heard in at least two years my dad's voice boomed out of a little speaker. Whatever I did must have erased the thing, because there's no way I could make it d it again.
"You haven't got a fat arse!" he boomed. Just the once, but once was enough.
I'll take a booming "You haven't got a fat arse" over a whispered "switch it off" as last words. Every day of the week.