He was a good man; never ever a violent man; seldom even an angry man. He was caring and devoted to his five children and only when he thought his children were in danger or when they were ‘wronged’ in his eyes did the sparks ever fly. (So to speak).
He was often fearful that some ill might befall his children and, long before seat belts were in cars, he invented a safety contraption that secured the back doors of the car with leather straps, lest a door should ever open unexpectedly when we were on the road. (Or that’s what he told us – perhaps he felt it was better that we were well contained and not free to leave the car at any stopping point).
On beach holidays, he tied a length of rope to the inflated rubber inner tube that we played on in the water and tied the other end to a small post anchored in the sand by his side, in order to prevent us floating out too far. We were not always happy with that arrangement and neither were the people who were tripped up by our rope as they strolled along the sand.
One day I (at age about eight) was bitten on the leg by a dog in our street. It was possibly partly my fault as I was propelling a very noisy billy-cart along the footpath, which may have frightened the dog. I hobbled home, bawling my eyes out. My father was working in the garden and had a spade handy; a spade which, on seeing the small puncture wound in my leg, he picked up and strode down the street with, to where the dog and its owners were. “I ought to put this spade through that bloody dog’s neck” was how he greeted the neighbours.
(He didn’t - use the spade as a guillotine, that is).
When my beloved cat, Willy, was missing we searched high and low for him. Father went into the neighbours’ jungle of a backyard and found the poor cat (or the poor cat’s body, to be accurate) stuck (head first) in a drain pipe in the incredibly messy yard. What he did with the dead cat I fortunately never found out. What I did know is that he smashed the drainpipe with every ounce of strength he could muster.
Now, that’s caring!