On my hike down memory lane, I stumbled across this gem……….


My dad was a great guy. He overcame many an obstacle in his life, one of which was losing his foot in a mine. He was inspecting the dynamite charges set in the wall of rock designated for blasting. When some idiot lit them prematurely without giving my father time to scramble to safety.

The force of the explosion was so powerful, it lifted his entire body and smashed him against the rock face.

When the dust settled, and the severity of his injuries could be seen. He was rushed to the hospital where they immediately placed him in an induced coma, knowing he would not be able to handle the pain.

Great chunks of flesh had been torn from his body, nearly every bone broken, and his left leg was a mangled mass of splintered bone and gore. There was no way they could save his foot, and it had to be amputated just below the knee.

When he finally came round from his coma, his first words to the nurse proved no matter what, he was ever the charmer,

” You have beautiful eyes,”
he murmured, then thoughtfully qualified it, before slipping back into his woozy haze,

” beautiful brown eyes, just like a cow’s”.

The nurse got her own back for this left-handed compliment shortly after when he complained about his foot being cold, and she responded cynically,

” Doubt that. It’s in the incinerator at about a thousand degrees.”

I think most of us would agree that it was not the nicest way to receive such horrendous news.

My father, being the old soldier he was, soon became used to life with an artificial leg. Today’s prosthetics are amazing, They seem to be lightweight and easy to fit. Still, Dad’s was a massive combination of leather and metal, fitted with iron hinges and brass buckles.

It may have been difficult at first, but Dad was determined to continue living his life with enthusiasm and soon became used to having to lift and lock the metal hinge of the knee. Then swing it forward, to walk. He even taught himself how to ride a bicycle, which was quite an achievement, considering how he had to manipulate that heavy and cumbersome contraption strapped to his thigh.

He walked so well, I remember snapping at him one day after he had asked me for the third time to fetch something or the other.

” You know Dad, anyone would think you were a cripple.”

He merely lifted an eyebrow in response. I felt awful.

However, to get back to my narrative, on this day, our spirits were high, and life was good. We had had a fun-filled lunch, laughing and sitting around the table, eating’ bread and jam’.

My favourite sandwich was a combination of Black Cat Peanut Butter and Lyles Golden Syrup. I remember loving the logo of the lion with bees coming out of it, and reading ‘from out of the strong came forth sweetness’.
There was one treat we had though, which was so delicious, but so unhealthy, I think my mom may have been charged with child abuse today, and that treat was,

‘ Dripping on Bread.’ Tah da!

Mom had a tin in the fridge into which she poured leftover oils and grease from roasts, bacon, and suchlike. The flavours that concentrated in a thick, spreadable sludge were out of this world. Best of all was when she fried bread in it. Nothing compared to the delicious flavour of bread fried in dripping.

Lunch may have been a simple meal, but it was a goodly one. One even possibly looked on with favour by the Good Lord himself, as we broke bread together.

Dad was feeling extra smart that day, wearing a brand new, full length, white safari suit, which looked rather good, matched with his helmet. The helmet he wore was not one of today’s fancy plastic affairs, but a Pith Helmet.

For those who don’t know, a pith helmet is a tall, rather impressive hard hat, originally from India and usually worn when hunting tigers. (Use it, don’t use it.)
Anyway, Dad wore one, preferring headgear that wouldn’t blow off in the wind.

We enjoyed lunch with the family sharing stories and generally just fooling around until the time came for all good things to end.

Lunch over, Dad had to go back to work. He put on his helmet, rolled out the bike and climbed on, and still feeling cheerful, just for a laugh, took a kick at a cardboard box in front of him.

Wrong move.

Instead of kicking it, he accidentally put his foot into the box and dragged it under the front wheel. The bike instantly upended and despatched Dad unceremoniously face first in the dust.

There was so much dust.
Dad’s beautiful new white suit was covered in it, His loving family, who h in hoots of laughter.

He stood up, brushed himself off and then, for no reason at all, clouted Peter.

I must say, Peter accepted it gracefully, even though he had had absolutely nothing to do with his father’s self-inflicted indignity.

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