Dad Writes: About Happiness (aka Merry Christmas)

The few of you who I know read these posts might remember that a while ago, I did a writing exercise with my Dad. Turns out he’s a very good writer, and makes hilarious puns about quarries, which people like a lot. It ended up being one of my most popular entries last year. (2015 resolution: work on stone-based humour.)

He does a lot of driving around the country as part of his work, and offered to give me a lift back to my hometown on his way from a job recently. Packing the last of my things, I found him waiting for me, freewriting to pass the time. I didn’t know he did this (and have subsequently found out that ALL 5 of us in my nuclear family write; we’ve just never shared it with each other.)

It was about happiness. I asked him to email it to me. I had to share it, and to say that I’m very happy at the end of this year, especially to have my Dad still here. Big thanks to everyone for all 2014-related support. If you’re at all struggling, which is often the case for us at Christmas, I hope you find some comfort in the following. Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays.

Look Through Any…

In the van, home along the M27 near Portsmouth, and next to me a box of old tapes unheard for years. Let’s try this one. Small moments of elation come when familiar favourite tracks chase each other through the tape, in the vehicle that takes me to such enjoyable sessions in the planetarium…

Yes, it’s Look Through Any Window by the Hollies. Singing along. “See the drivers on the road; where do they go? Look through any…”

Ahh, the tape finished before the song did.

Elation cut short.

And in the big picture, the happiness we share and create in each other will inevitably end, with us, too; but unlike the Hollies’ voices, which leave not even a faint echo on that roaring road, we have also created images, writings, memories in others that will please down the years.

Happiness inevitably cannot last.

But its monuments are photos and letters, people taught and entertained, people helped and healed. Its monuments are Lydia, Elizabeth and John. And what happiness they achieve is in the same endless river as their children’s, our parents’, and ours too.

Dad and me in old family photos
Dad and me in old family photos

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