Dad is renowned for two things. The first is his stubborn unwillingness to seek medical advice for any physical issue until it’s far too late. I’m not talking about niggling little issues either, I’m talking probably could use an ambulance issues. Let me illustrate by compiling the list of injuries he’s had that I can remember, where he didn’t seek immediate medical help:
- Broken back (twice). He can’t remember how he broke it on either occasion *blank face*;
- Kicked in the head by a steer, which rendered him almost unconscious and left his face mangled and bruised;
- Kicked in the knee by a bull, which splintered the bone in his knee, which gave him stabbing pain and a limp for over six months;
- Caught behind a fence which swung back on him when it was hit by a cow, when ended in broken ribs;
- Dropped a running chainsaw, which hit him in the chin, then badly burnt his stomach. The first thing he did was take a photo of his bleeding chin and send it to us, claiming Mum had hit him.
He drives Mum up the wall with his injuries, yet she’s not much better, having reattached the tip of one of her own fingers after sticking her hand under a running lawnmower.
Needless to say, I don’t call my parents expecting sympathy when I’m sick.
The second thing he’s renowned for is never discussing feelings, either his own, or yours, except on the rare events that there is a full moon in the month of August, which falls on a Friday. If you attempt to discuss feelings, you will find yourself talking to his disappearing back, as he heads outside to take a long walk in a paddock to get away from the feelings that polluted his afternoon.
The Friday just gone happened to be one of those rare occasions he wanted an insight into my life. We were chatting on the phone about how much rain they’d had and what I’d been doing at work, and in some context I mentioned the word ‘husband’.
Dad: Speaking of, when are you going to get a husband?
Me: Oh god, really? Never. I could tell you some horror stories, Dad.
Dad: … I don’t know that I really want to hear about that, thanks.
Me: No, I mean stories about men my age. Seriously, they’re not like you, they have all these feeling and they want to talk about them all the time.
Dad: Oh! That’s not good. You know what you need then? You need a country boy, they don’t have feelings.
Me: Like Farmer Wants a Wife?
Dad: Yes! Or … what industry would you say you work in?
Dad: Okay, here’s an idea! Let’s pitch a show called Media Woman Wants a Husband!
Mum [in the background]: Have you ever thought that maybe Julia doesn’t want a husband?
Dad: If you don’t want a husband, that’s also fine.
Just between you and me, I think Dad would prefer I never get married so he can spare himself the horrendous shame he casts on his reputation as the Strong Silent Type, because whenever he marries off a daughter, he ends up weeping in a corner at the reception and then making long speeches about wanting grandchildren.
Don’t ever tell him I told you that.