…if you’ve been following me for any length of time, you’ll know I didn’t come from any writing background. In fact my mother was a stay at home mum, and my father drove trucks for a living.
If anything, those that knew my father would always remark on the fact that I never showed any interest in taking up the driving game.
‘You not got him driving yet, Paddy?’ They’d ask.
‘No. Because it’s a mugs game…and I want him doing something better than this.’ He’d reply.
I don’t know how many times I heard those words come from him. But they never lost any strength over the years. Whatever it was that I was to do, it would never be a truck driver.
He did such a good job of it, that I avoided wanting to learn to drive for the longest time. – The furthest I ever drove, was when I was about twenty seven and I had to drive the fifteen miles out to the countryside to our new home.
When I pulled up to the house, with two babies snuggled up in the back, and Catherine beside me, I couldn’t believe I’d done it.
“Look at me ma, I’m a driver!”
So when it came time for him to stop driving – – after having a heart bypass – and he was recuperating at home, I’ll never forget asking him if he’d ever miss driving.
“No. Not for a second.”
For as long as I’d know my father he’d drove. Driving home that night, his remark played over and over in my head.
Had he always hated it, even back to when he was telling me to stay away from it?
Was it just a way to put food on the table?
And what must it feel like doing something you’ve no love for, coming up to the end of your life?
None of us knew it at the time, but he only had a few more years with us. He collapsed one day while out walking the dog and died on the way to the hospital.
“You don’t want this…it’s a mug’s game.”
Had he not said those words to me, I wonder if I’d be driving a truck now, or even doing what I’m doing. – Who knows?
But I’m glad that he did. That push sent me off in a different direction than his life, one I hope he’s proud of.
Barry J McDonald.
PS – Sing your song before the music ends.