Although I was quite drunk, I had sobered enough to know not to drive. I considered calling a cab and fumbled for my mobile phone. Suddenly I changed my mind and hit speed dial. When Dad answered, I could hear from his voice that he was on the edge of panic.
“Something is wrong,” he panted, “You are drunk! I can tell”.
“Wherever you are; stay there.”
Wow! This was a new experience. Calm patient Dad lost the plot, and I was to blame.
“Dad I am at the pub”, I soothed. “I am in trouble BUT not THAT much trouble!”
Suddenly he snapped back to the man I knew.
Dad turned up in a cab and drove Jessie home, getting out at her place to talk to her parents. I overheard him saying that he wasn’t as angry as I thought he was.
“Both kids are home safe”, Dad was saying as kept on apologising profusely. I heard him repeat the apology for the way I had treated Jessie one more time and then he was back in the car.
Dad didn’t talk on the way back to our place, and a coward that I was, I slept most of the way or pretended to!
The next day Dad spent a lot of time with me out in the shed. We joked about for a while, and Dad said that we were ‘doing quality time’ and that would serve as my penance.
“The first thing we need to discuss is the way you have treated Jessie”. Never treat a woman in such an abusive way” he said. “Real men talk about their problems.”
We talked about our ideal woman. Not surprisingly, George vowed my mum as his treasure.
“Don’t risk losing the people who bring value to your world. Your mother and I always talk no matter how hard things are. There is always a way to sort out problems”. I knew this was true, but I also knew I had to find the right girl before I could ever have a marriage like theirs.
“Then break it off gently”, he said.
First, we washed the Audi together and then we worked on Maisy.
“Why are we working so hard on Maisy?” I asked dad, “I thought we were only going to bash with her out on the block?”
Dad had one of those quizzical but patient looks on his face and turned his head laughingly.
“Oh,” I said, “it’s for me! I am not responsible enough to drive the Audi.”
Dad laughed and tossed me Maisy’s keys. “That’s the second part of your penance. You are not reliable enough to drive the Audi – YET!” he said.
We talked about drinking and driving for the rest of the day. Dad told me that he had been in a DD accident when he was about 20.
“People in the other car were injured,” he said, ”but no one died.” “I decided never to drink again. It just seemed easier that way.”
I didn’t make the same decision as Dad. I drink responsibly, which means I never drink and drive. I work in the hospitality industry now. The near miss experience I just told you about, and the stories my father told me about the mistakes of his youth, mean that I take my certificate for Serving Alcohol Responsibly very seriously. Sometimes I see young blokes get themselves in a spot of bother, and I like to think that I try to help them the way my father patiently helped me that night. From time to time, I just take their keys and call them a cab.
Face up, front up and fix it up is my dad’s saying and that works for me. I still use it to this day!