My Dad, like many of his era, started with nothing more than a vision, a strong work ethic and his honour.
Dad, aka Joe and Pop, was the youngest of eleven and left home in his teens to find work. This journey took him from a little place called Mosquito Creek, north-west of Warialda where he had been driving tractors for neighbours, to Kempsey and then Tasmania, cutting timber and finally share-farming for one of his brothers and a brother-in-law near Condobolin. He convinced them to guarantee a bank loan for £1500 to get him started and after two seasons with them he headed back north to Moree and began a share-farming agreement that lasted for 27 years, on a handshake. No contracts, no lawyers, just his word and that of the landowner.
In 1967 he drew a block south of town and one of my treasured memories is of him waltzing mum round the kitchen, a celebration that they finally owned their own farm!
He worked hard to grow his vision and over time increased his holdings, his family, his investment in the future and the respect of his friends, neighbours and peers. One of my other memories was that his patience sometimes seemed short with us, not that we would have tested it of course, but in hindsight he probably saved it for achieving what he set out to do. He knew it wouldn’t happen overnight, he knew it wouldn’t happen without setbacks, pain or hard work, but with faith, determination, integrity and a firm belief in what he was doing, he created a better life for himself and for us. Dad built a legacy to be proud of, without losing his humility or himself.
His passionate diatribes about politics and his evaluation of politicians were balanced only by his sense of humour. He had, like all dads, a repertoire of dorky jokes or stories and a laugh like Mutley or Precious Pup (for those of you who don’t remember – Google!).
I wonder what he would have thought about the candidates looking for our vote this coming weekend. Perhaps he and I might have agreed on this one. All I know is I wish they had a vision for our future beyond the next term and could lead, by example, with honesty and integrity so that when they shook your hand and looked you in the eye, you could take them at their word.
Happy Father’s Day Dad and if you’re listening, would you mind putting in a request to the big guy for some rain….