I was conceived one romantic valentines day back in the 70’s to a much older soon to be father of 5 and my very beautiful and rather young mother. Born their second daughter but not the second child between them. Either way I am the middle child. With nine siblings altogether or three daughters between them, the result remains the same.
I recall my father being away a lot as he was a soldier during the Rhodesian war. A civil war is no place for a single mother with five children. My mother eventually got us over the border and into a safer South Africa days after the sun set on Rhodesia and rose as Zimbabwe. I recall celebrating my sixth birthday in South Africa – which was to be one of many RSA birthdays.
My father was in the mining industry. Often he would take us down the mine shaft and into tunnels to show us what it was like underground. It was musky, dark somewhat moist. The air seemed thick and dusty. We enjoyed these adventures with my dad though. Always wearing a hard hat that didn’t quiet fit. Back home on school days come sunset we would wait for my dad to return home where we would run and greet him at the gardens gate, then fight over whose turn it was to pull off his smelly boots. It was an event with much laughter getting dads boots off. Gardening some weekends, my Dad would hide money in the purple flowers of the creeper that grew up the side of the house and onto the roof. My eldest sister Charmaine and I would trick Kerry – our baby sister, into swapping her ‘paper’ money for our real coin money – crafty I guess. Either way when we went to the candy store, it didn’t matter what the bill was – we all gave my Dad our coins and he paid the balance without us knowing.
These small memories I hang onto of my younger childhood with my Dad. I would go on only to see him on one occasion after our arrival in RSA while at my brothers funeral. I was due to go back to Zimbabwe after my Senior School year but he sadly died during my final year due to a heart attack caused by a blood clot triggered from a car accident he survived a few days prior. The 11th April 2012 marked the nineteenth year of his passing. My childhood nickname was Sunshine – hence SunshineMac. RIP Dad, seen in this photo with my elder brother as a baby.
All we have is precious time – use it well, Hugs.