By Simon Grigg
I had to laugh when dad said keep it short or no one will listen and he must have been worried because he obviously got into father Dans ear to suggest the same and hes one person that would know .Its not my fault I am a Grigg but I will try
the best I can.
I learnt very early on in my life, that what you saw in dad on the outside was the same as the inside, a person who was fiercely honest and loyal and painfully fair. There was never any hint of bias, self interest or ego, just a genuine desire to get the fairest outcome.
He had a profound duty of care which extended way beyond his immediate family and he never forgot his friends in their time of need. Dad took a genuine interest in people which enabled him to endear himself to people of all ages. I remember as a young man dad would sometimes annoy me because he could often talk to my mates easier than myself and even my girlfriends!
There is no question that Dad developed a huge loyalty and comradeship to his mates at War and he never forgot his fallen mates .His long time involvement with the RSL and LEGACY, helping the War Widows and their families since he returned was no doubt out of respect for his mates who didnt return.
Since the War Dad has farmed at Patche all his life. He had a special affinity with his sheep and the wool they grew. The ewes we currently farm have been bred from the original mob he bought in 1960. When the sheep were stuck in the scrub, there was nothing more he loved than to saddle up the horse, usually another defunct racehorse, with his trusty dog by his side and taking as long as it took to bring the sheep in. It was times like this; as one with his surrounds, that dad knew money just couldnt buy. While dads early days were pretty tough the post war era was an exciting time, when wool was a pound for a pound and wheat prices bounced off all time highs. Presiding over the Patche F.C while winning several footy premierships .Where 120 players was common at the Patche golf tournament and bragging rights was not about the golf but about the push ups, chin ups, axe holding and hand span competitions that went into the early hours of the morning and of course bringing up a young family when rural communities were thriving and well populated
During this period and up until very recently dad has loved his sport. Probably not a champion in any code but thriving on his competitive nature to bring out the best in him. He took up boxing in the war and on retuning home he recalled recently that he earned some repute when he stayed the distance with a recently retired professional . After dads front teeth were knocked out in the first round his courage was never questioned but it was with some irony that dad didnt mind at all as he had always been embarrassed at his prominent front teeth as he put it and was very proud of his new straight ones, Mum on the other hand whom dad was courting at the time, wasnt quite sure if this was the right sort of bloke to be mixed up with .
He said his footy was never the same after he was shot in the war a lot of us used that excuse but not many could back it up.He always thought he was pretty good at cricket until he went down to Melbourne country week and like a few others I know, never made any runs. Golf was the next game in line and naturally the 19th hole was always his favourite. Bowls was his last sporting love and while not quite up with the best players, he loved having a crack at them. One of his fondest memories was being part of the 1997 Ouyen pennant premiership team when a few thought he was perhaps too old to be included but yet being instrumental in the win. Dads love of sport was closely linked with the great comradeship he had with his mates and the time he enjoyed with them.
Dad to me never grew old. Even over the last few months with his illness he was always enjoyable and comfortable to be with. I was always relaxed in his company and enjoyed having a drink with him. He was a good friend and able to talk about most things. I always thought I had a special relationship with Dad but I now realize, after the numerous visits from his friends and peers and after Mum or Maria and Viginia had to kick them out for staying far too long, that most people who knew Dad, felt the same sense of comfort in his company. I guess I was just lucky that I had more access than most.
In recent months while dad was completely incapacitated he was still thinking about the wellbeing of others rather than himself. He was at pains to express his gratitude to all the communities and organizations who welcomed and accepted him and his family through out his life and to his friends who have been so good in recent months. Tho dad gave much it was what he received in return that made him a most happy and contented man so on behalf of dad thankyou for making his life a rich and rewarding one.
Thank you dad for the love, friendship and devotion to Karen, myself and our children that you have given us. Thank you for showing us what the most important things in life are and I know if my children will be as proud of me when my time comes as I am of you, I could not WISH for anymore.
Thank you Maria and Virginia for being so good and thank you mum for being the perfect soldier that dad needed alongside him in the toughest battle of his life.