I drove past that church today, it always makes me think of dad, and mum too. You can’t think of dad without thinking of mum, not really, they were inseparable in life, and now in death also.

Strange to think that it was almost 30 years ago, to the day, that dad died, and then mum less than than two weeks later.

She always said she’d better go first, and that she would ‘just not know what to do with herself without him.’ I guess it’s true, you can die of a broken heart.

They were good parents, good people, not perfect of course, but then who is huh. Decent the pair of them.  They didn’t beat us, well no more than absolutely necessary; and there was always ‘the warning’ first’. You know what I mean don’t you, if you do that or don’t do this, then this is the punishment you’ll get.

Yep true to their word, both of them.

A big church it is too, dad would always say ‘modern looking’, well perhaps when they were still with us, yes it was.  A large ‘modern’ building, imposing, as all churches are meant to be I suppose, grey slate and marble white, with a circular stained glass window all reds and blues and greens, quite pretty in a ‘religious’ way.

That was the oddest thing about mum and dad.  He was religious, she was not.  They brought us up to think about it for ourselves.

Dad would have said, ‘you can’t bring kids up with religion, that is tantamount to brain washing’.   Was he right? I’ll have to say yes.  Instead he taught us about all kinds of religion.

He would grandly declare ‘This is what I believe, but others believe this instead’.

I would often catch a glimpse of mum’s face when he was ‘waxing lyrical’ about religion. You know the look, you see it sometimes when me and you are talking about footie.

Yeah that look, the quick flick of the eyes up and to the left, the unuttered ‘tut’ just forming on her lips; she would just leave him to it though.

You know I can’t remember a single time when they didn’t act as one, speak as one, back each other up, even when they disagreed, as they did with religion, as they did with may things.

Thinking about it, and I have over the years you know, I still don’t get that.  I mean I get it, I understand why they did things that way, but I don’t see that it was easy for either of them, just swallowing things, their own opinions like that, just to present a united force I suppose, still it couldn’t have been easy for them.

For example. I remember the first time they caught me smoking.  Ohh mum was pissed, ohh my was she angry.  Dad though he just shrugged his shoulders, gave me that look.

Heh yeah they had looks for all occasions.  But this one was the, ‘I’m disappointed, son’ look.  And you know what, that hurt.  Anyway mum started shouting, I could see that dad wanted to just calm things down. I mean he smoked, she didn’t, but he couldn’t stand the thought of being hypercritical.

So he stood with her, right behind here, looming, just looking, giving me the ‘your mum’s right and you know it boy’ look.  It bloody worked though, from that day on I never smoked again, man the tongue lashing she gave me.

Where was I, ohh yes, religion.

So he was… well it doesn’t matter what faith he followed, he wasn’t Christian though, he called the Christian church ‘morally bankrupt’, and he’d say that if he believed in the devil then surly the Christian church would be ‘the devils work’.  He believed in God though, and Gods plan, ‘whatever that was’.

I asked him once, you know, when it became clear to me that I would follow mum into atheism, why he believed in God.  He said ‘you know son, I don’t know, I just always have, since I was a little boy’.

Odd though as his parents were atheist!

He did like churches though, hah just the outside mind.  Mum would never enter a church and dad wouldn’t force her, so outside they stood; him ‘harping on’, her words not his of course, about the architecture, the light and shade, the feelings that he got from being near one, and anyway…

“Hey Dad”


“Change the record huh, you always give us this kinda speech after you have passed that church”

“Heh yes John I do, I miss them you know, they were good parents, and they are buried right there, together, as they always have been.”

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Lee Douglas

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