Why not Uncle’s Day? #twofathers

2001-12-29 08.40.26

I don’t wish to disparage any fathers nor undermine their offspring’s good intentions in celebrating their importance – after all I use mine often enough here and I both love him dearly and miss him still – but in my life I not only had a highly influential father but an equally important uncle. And I’m not aware of a day to celebrate him. He was a father, too so perhaps I should just piggy back on my cousins’ memories.

He was also a grandfather, uncle, great uncle, husband and goodness knows how many labels beside but, whatever the capacity, he was a universally loved good bloke who wasn’t at all blokey and a hit with men and women alike.

Ted, Teddles, Nunkie, I only really knew him when he returned from his part time emigration to Australia at the start of the 1970s. I have one specific early memory which I will come to later. I’d heard the stories, seen the smiles on my parents’ faces when they talked about him but I was too young really to remember much about him before he and my aunt left.

On their return he ran various pubs and just spread enjoyment wherever he went. He was the ultimate in preaching what today is covered by the acronym YOLO. A day at a time was looking too far ahead. He dealt in minutes, cramming in as much laughter as he could. He subverted authority with a wink, undermined carefully structured parenting with charm and took no one very seriously, least of all himself. When told he needed fresh air and exercise to address a heart condition, he moved the shove ha’penny board so it sat near the open back door of the pub. He might frustrate you but you never stopped loving him.

If I had to pin down one feature that made him stand out it was he listened to you – really listened; and he remembered too so he always seemed to have something very personal for you, making you feel really special.

His humour drifted from the shaggy dog to the scatalogical, and I have inherited it. A running joke between my father and Ted on the subject of bogies, for instance, led to this Limerick of my father as a gift to Ted:

‘Nose pickings,’ said Mrs McGraw, 

‘Have practical uses galore.

By rolling and moulding,

And carefully folding

You can make condoms, cheap, for the poor.’

I could see in Ted a man whose purpose in life was to make it better for others. It was a conscious thing, and if he took anything seriously it was that.

My father taught me much. My uncle showed me how to use those gifts  to try and make everyone’s lives just a little bit better. I miss them both dreadfully but looking back I realise how lucky I was to have had two fathers.

Maybe you also have another male relative who needs celebrating alongside your fathers. If so then this, my one real memory from the period pre emigration, is for them. One evening after I woke up hearing voices, rather than letting mum put me straight back to bed, he sat me on his knee and, surrounded by all the other adults, sang me this.

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published four books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars, Salisbury Square and Buster & Moo. In addition I have published two anthologies of short stories, Life, in a Grain of Sand and Life in a Flash. More will appear soon, including a memoir of my mother's last years. I will try and continue to blog regularly at geofflepard.com about whatever takes my fancy. I hope it does yours too. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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15 Responses to Why not Uncle’s Day? #twofathers

  1. Ritu says:

    There is such truth in this Geoffles.
    Let’s be honest. If you live and appreciate anyone. .. they do t need a certain day, but if you’re going to give certain people one then there should be room for all those who you love and admire.
    Personally I feel.it should be fathers day everyday as my Pops is my inspiration but there are so many other make relatives who have given me so much in life, to make me who I am.
    A lovely tribute to your uncle 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your uncle sounds a wonderful man. Uncle’s Day would be every day you have a memory. 🙂


  3. Norah says:

    What a wonderful tribute to an obviously gorgeous man. I don’t know what a shove ha’penny board is, but I do get the humour that clearly runs in the family. What a limerick to delight any male – young or old! What an endearing thing for an uncle to do, to keep you away from bed and sing you that rollicking song. No wonder you have fond memories. I’m sure there’ll be many an uncle who deserves to be honoured so. Maybe you’ll start a trend.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. noelleg44 says:

    What lovely memories, Geoff. I hardly knew one of my uncles. The other I saw regularly but never got to really know him. I think Uncle’s Day is a great idea. I know my brother would like it!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Erika Kind says:

    I think there is always this one or a few persons who have this “parents” flavor. It doesn’t need to be a biological parent at all. So often we feel close to someone without being even a relative but feel like it. We are all here with and for each other no matter where we came from – as it should be. I so love your post and you are so right.There should be an “Important Person In Life” Day.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I had such an Uncle too. I dedicated my first crossword book to him

    Liked by 1 person

  7. jan says:

    Sounds like you were lucky indeed to have two fathers! Happy Father’s Day – I hope it’s a good one.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. gordon759 says:

    Good old Nunkie, I well remember the ‘fresh air and exercise’ event.

    Liked by 1 person

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