My dad’s funeral was slightly different!
Some 14 years ago now. October 2007.
Probably the hardest time in my life.
We had always been very close, even when I was a teenager which is pretty remarkable.
The music he himself chose was ‘My Way’, the Sinatra favourite, and then ‘Let Me Try Again’, a tongue in cheek reminder of his sense of humour.
During the service we sang, ‘Scot’s Wha Hae’ led by my friend Dave on guitar, and me, my brother, and best friend Alex.
We would have sung more had there not been a mix up and we were locked outside the crematorium for over 10 minutes by accident, so it cut the service from 30 minutes to 20.
I was not fit enough to help in carrying the coffin, but friends jumped in along with my brother, including one who had just had a new hip. We thought he might drop the coffin, but he managed well, despite sweat pouring down his face, and I’ll always remember his help.
My dad, ‘Pop’ as he was nearly universally known was a very clever and sagacious man.
We all say that about our dad’s don’t we?
But he guided me through life, made me the man I am, honest without question, and standing up wherever I can for others.
He used to take me to hustings at elections before I left primary school. A socialist through and through, and at that time, rightly, a Labour supporter.
Later on, in 1974, he was at the polling station for Labour and I was there for the SNP. That changed in 1977 when I stood for Council as an SNP candidate. I had a massive area to cover with many polling stations, and he manned Leadhills himself the whole time from seven in the morning until ten in the evening.
From that point on until his death he was an SNP supporter and thankfully he lived to see the election of the first SNP government.
He was the only man I ever regarded as being smarter than I am, and he was.
He moved to Dunblane in the last three years of his life so that I could, in my limited way, look after him.
Quiet, because of his deafness, in our local, the Tappit Hen in Dunblane, but popular as only an old sage can be. Friends have often told me he could just give a look and indicate his thoughts without words.
The entire pub just about, including the staff, went to his funeral at Daldowie crematorium. Then a buffet at Angels hotel in Uddingston, one of my clients at the time, and very friendly. They gave me staff discount on the cost, and the owner, Lisa, a friend as well as a client, was exceptional, coming round herself to give everyone an extra drink at no cost to me.
Then it was back to Dunblane, Helen, the manager at The Tappit then and now, had laid on a grand buffet at no cost to me for the many that joined in.
It was a wake of exceptional order. My good friend Dave, sang and played guitar for at least six hours, along with my brother who had returned from Australia for the funeral. Many others made excellent contributions to the music. Loads of music and laughter, Pop would have loved it.
The ‘Tappit Fitba’ group’ got up and sang for my dad, “We’ll be coming, we’ll be coming, we’ll be coming down the road. When you hear the noise from the Tappit boys, we’ll be coming down the road” – Magic. I just wish Pop had been there to hear it!
I was handed an envelope with a lot of money in it that went to heart research, his cause of death being heart failure, although there were many other causes.
A Bevin Boy during WW11 so down the pits, a spray painter in his business, often without a mask, worked with asbestos, and smoked more than 20 untipped a day for most of his life. How his lungs kept him going to 84 I do not know.
It was a long day and a longer night, but we saw him off well…
And God do I miss his counsel…
A blog, mostly about special moments and things that have happened in my life or events that I find special.
Most will be happy to know that they are NOT political!
Some are simple short memories, others more profound. They are all true however, no embelishment.
The Exidor Syndrome
Let me try again
To Sir With Love
At The End of a Perfect Day
The Dark Island
Parting is such sweet sorrow
My first Hogmanay in Australia
One Christmas in Sydney 1994
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