Story starter – When I was young | Father

Late in 2010, just as I had re-ignited my passion for writing, I came across these Leaf. Journals for Life – Story Starters. Cath Connell, creator of these very cool items, provided a “how to” on the use of the story starters via her blog and inspired me so much I purchased a box and I committed to writing once a week on the topic the cards “choose” for me.

Well I failed to honour this committment, but I did manage to write the one below after I drew out the cards “When I was young …” and “Father“. In honour of father’s day this weekend, I am reviving this post for Cath’s weekly story starter challenge – “I am grateful for…” and “Dad”. Because I think this works just as perfectly!

This story goes back to when I was 10 or 11 and illustrates exactly what kind of father my dad is. He’s not the touchy-feely, outwardly affectionate kind of dad. A man of few words, Dad is not one for checking in daily with us about how our day is going or having big heart-to-heart conversations. But he is definitely a man of action and if there is one thing I can say that will sum up my dad – it’s that “he’s got our back“. And when I say “our” – I mean those he loves, and most particularly each of his nine kids (yes nine, four from marriage #1 and five from marriage #2 to my mum). Any time we have needed Dad, for anything, he’s always been there.

Which brings me to my story. It may seem trivial, but this incident just sticks in my mind because it sums up what Dad is for me. And it probably also sums up just how little I have needed to call on him  for “help”!

As a child I was super good. Being “told off” was just about the worst thing that could happen to me and as a result, I absolutely never did anything wrong! Which was a good thing for both my parents as my younger brothers were the polar opposite and kept them pretty busy in that regard!

Anyway – one day we were at Woolworths and as we often did, my brothers and I checked out the self-serve lolly area and mined the lollies that were left behind in the tray after people had served themselves. To our minds these lollies were fair game as no one could, or would, buy them given they were left sitting in the catch tray and not in the dispenser.

On this day I helped myself to four little malteser like chocolates (amazing the details that stick in your mind) when a Woolies employee came up and demanded to know if I was planning to buy them! There I was standing with four little half melted maltesers in my hand and all I could manage to do was squeak out “yes …” (probably my first ever lie!) mortified beyond belief that I had been “caught” doing SOMETHING WRONG!

It was at this point that Dad wandered up, assessed the situation in one swift glance and mollified the irate Woolies guy by quickly scooping an unecessary amount of the little round chocolates into a plastic bag before we both beat a hasty retreat towards the checkout. I am 34 now and I can’t think of a single other situation (other than maybe when he walked me down the aisle) that I loved my dad as much as I did at that point.

And to illustrate just how crippling it was for me to have been told off by the Woolies guy … I didn’t want to go back to that Woolies for easily three months after “the incident” and even then, it was only because I’d had a haircut and was fairly certain that if I saw the same guy, he wouldn’t recognise me!


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