Living with Pop was like living with a Legend. Although it was hard to tell whether he WAS an actual Legend or whether it was all talk and he lead you to believe he was a legend. When I was little I thought everyone knew my Pop and that no matter what you were after - meat, new tyres, a car? Pop knew a bloke who owed him a favour and would give you a discount. I grew up thinking that everything literally fell off the back of a truck.
Pop gave us the backbone on which we built our childhood. Uduc Road was heaven to us kids. So much naughty stuff to get up to - the thrill of it increased by the thought of Pop catching us. Nan would let us run wild - hiding in gallon drums filled with chook feed, climbing the shed, eating dog biscuits, skidding along the moss in the fernery, using big syringes from the vet clinic to squirt the little cousins whilst atop the shade house. Then word would get out. Pop was home and he sure was grumpy! You would skidaddle as quickly as you could. Assuming your positions of 'seen and not heard' lest you be given a good old clip around the ear 'ole. Pop would sit down in his Rock Rock, white pepper laden roast on his side table with Sale of the Century at volume 50. We all knew better than to play up during that time or suffer the wroth!
Over time Pop mellowed a little - he was still King of the Roost - but after Nan got sick, Pop became much more demonstrative of his love for her and the pride he had for his big brood. After a few beers, he'd lean in - nostril hair and all - and give you a shpeel about what a magnificent woman our Nan was. We always replied "ahhh, yup Pop - how the HELL do you think she has put up with you for so long?". Never one to shy away from sharing his opinion you'd always know what he thought. I recall him once telling me it looked like I'd been let loose in a good pasture which was Pop's not too subtle way of telling me I'd put on weight. Thanks Pop. His undeniable knack for a witty, quick cut-down must have been genetic though and in time, all of us kids would learn to give as good as we got!
Now Pop is no longer with us it truly feels like the end of an era. The memories too many, too funny, too poignant. What is so tangible however is that foundation he gave us. That backbone on which we find ourselves building on no matter where all of us kids are or what we find ourselves doing. That nothing trumps the importance of good education and family. His master plan revealed to us in the end which is that he just wanted us to be all happy together and that nothing beats a walk in the bush, a barbecue with the family or dressing up as Father Christmas and grossing your grandchildren out with your freaky teeth (or lack thereof).
So I think it fitting for all of us to imagine him sitting back, glass of ice cold home brew in hand, with that magic wink and smile combo, watching us all usher in this new era. We love you Pop and we promise we'll do you proud.