David Moseley

My two dads

2012-10-09 08:52

David Moseley

If I'm brutally honest (and I'm not, because if I were my dear mother would never speak to me again), thanks to my mom's penchant for collecting engagement rings and salads forks, I actually have between four and five fathers, step-fathers or ex-step-fathers floating around in the big wide world.

If you spend time with me socially, it's not uncommon to witness people coming up to me and saying, "hey Dave, remember that time we were related...those were the days."

Anyway, my mom's husband is a lovely Englishman, one of the most pleasant men I've ever met (that's why, at their wedding while he waited for my mom to walk down the aisle, I whispered to him repeatedly that it wasn't too late to dash for the exit).

What I love most about this man, apart from his impressive ability to drink red wine until his head is the same colour as the grape, is that he lives in London, keeping my mom far away from me. (Sensitive readers, I should point out that there is no need to feel indignant on my mother's part, as this is a long-running joke between the two of us. Also, my London-based brother is much nicer than me, so my mom likes him more anyway).

Another dad

Now I'm on the cusp of getting another "dad", the father of my fiancée. And I'm worried because from the minute I met the oke he's been way too pleasant. He phones for friendly chats about the cricket results, actually takes the time to read this column on a weekly basis, and is even encouraging the creation of some grandchildren (and I'm almost certain he understands what needs to occur for that to happen).

The bugger is definitely up to something. That being said, on my last trip to the Eastern Cape he made me sleep in the haunted guest room and failed to produce the good red wine, so perhaps the tide is turning and by the time of the wedding he'll be promising broken limbs if anything ever upsets his little angel.

But it's my actual father, turning 50-something next Tuesday, to whom I'd like to dedicate this piece. I say 50-something because, thanks to the ever-decreasing age of his partners and exponentially increasing trendiness of his wardrobe, I lose track of his actual age.

He's a long-suffering man who really just wants to be left alone in the garden. His precious lawn in our old home was turned into a cricket pitch by unruly children, with his prized rose bush the desired target for six-hitting (over the fence was six-and-out naturally, while smashing the glass sliding door was "six-and-get-hell-outta-there"). Exasperated at our big-hitting exploits he usually folded and joined in the game, only to become that guy who repeatedly hits the ball into the nieghbours' gardens.

Like all men he's had his ups and downs but at his core remains an ebullient, caring man who manages to light up the faces of my friends more than I do when he arrives at a social gathering. Of course, this may also have to do with the fact that he can't help but buy them all beer, even though most of them are professionals (at something, I think).

As far as parenting goes, I'm not entirely sure my folks were quite cut out for the job. I mean, just last month my dad invited Robyn and I for dinner, only to get so excited at our presence that he drank everything in sight and only managed to cook the meal by about 10pm, by which stage everyone was either plastered or sleeping.

But as far as being great people goes, they fit the bill. Memories have a habit of taking on a rose-tinted tinge the longer ago an actual event occurred, and while I concede that not everything was perfect, I’ll never forget my plucky old man loitering around my school when sport was on the go.

He forced himself to watch under-16 Spastic XI cricket matches, or under-14 Should Have Stayed in Knitting Club hockey. As a gifted athlete himself, nothing could have been more painful to witness.

Those were good days, just some of the many that stick in my mind. We’ve had better and worse since then, and we’ll have more of the same in the future I’m sure. I look forward to all of those.

- Follow @david_moseley on Twitter.

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