Sunday, March 27, 2005

When trams are at Roundhay Park Lake

Frank Anthony Mason

You name the career, and my dad was either a professional in it or could manage a half hearted attempt at it. In the time I knew him, he had been a painter and decorator, oil rig engineer or something oil riggy, a bar man, a taxi driver, a council manager of some sort, an ambulance man, a bus driver, a bread delivery man etc., Yep, you name it, he had his hand in it somehow. But of all the things he did, being my dad was just something he was good at. Of course we had our fall outs, which father/daughter combo do you know that hasn't? But I loved him none-the-less.

Everyone has stories about things their dad did, and most stories I have are stories that are somewhat connected with jobs he had. He painted my nursery (day care for you Americans wink wink Kim), he took me and my best friend Philippa to a pantomime in his ambulance one year and drove "hot" on the way home, he crashed a bus into a field when my mom was in labor with me (I think he may have been drunk too but stories like this get changed over the years depending on who is telling them), I could be stuck anywhere and he would pick me up in his taxi (He was Car 14), he worked in many pubs around Leeds and we sometimes used to go with him on a Sunday morning and help bottle up, I used to go to work with him on Saturday mornings and help him deliver bread.

One year, I came home from school and as I entered the living room, I saw the back of a head with curly hair. I was like "What are you doing home from school mum?" and the head turned around and it was my dad! He had had his hair permed Kevin Keegan style!

My dad loved golf, and used to go golfing all the time, whether it be to local courses or on trips to Ireland. He loved rugby and would go to Wembley on trips with his mates. He loved travelling and going to Spain where he and my mum eventually bought a place to rent out and visit.

Whenever we would ask my dad when we could do something, his response was always "When trams are at Roundhay Park Lake". Roundhay Park was a local park that in the olden days (and by olden I mean 80 odd years ago) used to run trams. So we would take his answer as NEVER. However, a few years later, I was in the middle of a cross country run for school (which coincidentally went around the lake) and I tripped over something. A tram track! Do you think he stopped saying that? Nope.


There are so many stories I could tell you about my dad. Many many many stories. But there are too many others to choose from.

My dad died 13 years ago tomorrow. He was 43. I was 22.

There is not a day that goes by that I don't think of him in some way. I think of how much he would have loved to have seen his grandkids growing up. I think of how much he would have loved to have seen me living here in America, how much he would have loved my husband, how much he would have loved to see his other sons living abroad and grown up. He didn't get to see any of this. I can't believe that 13 years has flown by and it feels like only yesterday. I wish it was the day before he died so I could tell him how much I loved him, and thought of him, and not to do what he did.

But it isn't.

I miss him every day.

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