It's a funny thing, the relationship between Dads and daughters. Well, at least the relationship between this daughter and her Dad is pretty funny - admittedly mostly funny peculiar, occasionally more of the ha-ha variety - but always carrying a slight sense of 'what the hell are we doing?' which, I am (almost) proud to say, stands as a natural hallmark of the Family Stone.
I wonder if Kennebec knew what he was getting on that day back in 1832, when an appealing and winsome little Katrina Laura Lambchop was cruelly wrenched from her mother's body - "thank God for that", was the cry from said mother, "she was reading under the covers already" - and thrust into his semi-waiting arms.
I doubt it. It certainly explains the immediate rush towards all available forms of alcohol, and a worryingly coincidental tendency to work as far away from home as possible for protracted periods of time. This was, of course, only up until the point where it became apparent I was going to be able to hold the screwdriver steady, or the drill, or large pieces of circuitry, while he fixed things rather than stab myself in the eye, foot or groin or cause wide-scale electrocution.
I might add this was unlike a certain erstwhile juvenile rottweiler who shall remain nameless, but is three years younger than me and can be found on my Facebook profile if you look hard enough.
We settled down to a few years of me following him faithfully around listening to various mutterings of 'bloody hell' with respect to anyone playing North Melbourne, anyone beating Australia in the cricket, anyone driving a car, anyone without an in-depth knowledge of the multiple sins of the Deathstar (aka Telstra, then Telecom) and, of course, anyone who did not appreciate the finer workings of large scale amplifiers and high-fidelity speakers. Then I toodled off to school away from the loving bosom of my family (covered in bruises from the rottweiler, who got a fair biting or two in return) - and Dad became the poor bloke who dealt with my hysterical tears at the end of every school holidays, as he tried to pry me off the car-door handle so he could drive the four and half hours home.
'WHY DO I HUH-HUH-HAVE TO GO TO SCHOOL HERE?
WHY DO YOU AND MUM HATE ME SO MUCH? WHY, WHY, WHYYYYYYY?'
I think by that point Kennebec was wishing he could stuff me back where I came from, but amazingly, a man who was not, shall we say, particularly confident or comfortable with expressing emotions managed to calm me down each time, without resorting to 'bloody hell' as a default response, and stuffed my tear-sodden body in the direction of the nuns on the run instead.
That is pretty much the default setting for the two-twit act which I would refer to as Richie Benaud and Daughter. The man who looks more like Richie than the late, much-lamented superstar himself, and was also a nifty number on the cricket pitch in his time, has always been there to pick up the snuffly, snotty pieces when I have needed him most. From helping me with shortcuts on my Physics homework (which got me in trouble), to not killing me as we played Badminton together, to standing by my side this year as The Man Who Vaguely Resembles David Tennant took me off his hands forever.
"Thank bloody hell for that", says Ken, as he pours another glass of red.
And of course, for simply being my Dad.
I wish more than all the money on earth, all I will ever have, and all I am, that I could repay him for what he has given me as a father. I know exactly what he will say when he (possibly) gets around to reading this; he will sniff, and half-smile, and say it's a load of rubbish - but my goodness, Kenneth, you have had more of an effect on me than you will ever know. I will be the first to admit some of that effect is a ridiculous love of sport, and more technical bullshit than you can shove in three brains, but so what?
It's from my Dad. It's a gift.
I am not even going to pretend this has been an easy post to write, because It's been absolutely crap. I'd say my heart isn't in it, but therein lies the rub. My heart is so invested in writing this I may as well grab a USB cable and plug it directly into an artery; at least that way, I might be able to get what I am attempting to say out of my head and onto the screen. Dad, you are a very, very good man. I love you, and I am proud of you, and I wish like your proverbial bloody hells I could make you better, but I can't. So I will just say this.
Thank you, Happy Father's Day, and you were the suavest, most handsome man on the 7th of February the city of Perth has ever seen.
Now go on, say it's a load of rubbish, so I can roll my eyes and say how unappreciative you are, and we can get back to being our peculiar, sort of funny selves.
For just a while longer.