A father's day tribute

I am looking at a photo of my dad. It was taken back in 1990, during Italia '90. I'm not a football fan, but that was a big year for Ireland and Jackie's army. 

 "we're all part of Jackie's army, we're all off to Italy, and we'll really shake them up, when we win the world cup, cos Ireland are the greatest football team! Ole, ole, ole . . ."  
Maybe you had to be there. 

Me and dad went to Ireland on our own, leaving my mum and 3 brothers behind. It was for a christening or something. We took the coach all the way there.  (well, a ferry too, obviously).  I remember shopping for football related souvenirs for my brothers. I'd have been 11, nearly 12 then. My dad looks so happy in the picture. 

He has his hands up in the air and this huge grin on his face. He always took a good picture.  I think it was the little twinkle in his blue eyes that did it; a hint of mischief. 

 My dad died 3 years ago, a month to the day after Cheeky was born.  The last time he left the house was to meet his first grand child just hours after he was born.  It must have taken every last ounce of strength to walk from the car, but he did it. The nurses broke the rules and even allowed him on to the labour ward. He was the first person after Mr. M and I to hold Cheeky.  I will be forever grateful for that moment and I truly believe my dad held on so that he could meet his grandson, his namesake, before he died. 

 I wrote a poem for his funeral and read it out as a tribute to him.  This is it: 

 My dad 

 My dad's eyes are the bluest blue, 
Like stars they twinkle and shine. 
There's that hint of mischief in his look, 
And a twinkle all of the time. 

 Laughter lines crinkle around his eyes, 
Caressing his jolly face. 
Merriment dances on his lips. 
Dad's smile -a warm embrace. 

 He's only little, is my dad, 
But he has a big, kind heart. 
His warmth and generosity, 
Really sets him apart. 

 Nothing's ever too much trouble, 
He'll do anything for you. 
He always takes time to give others a hand, 
Dad's generous through and through. 

 I don't think there's anything my dad can't do, 
Never taught- he just seems to know. 
Building, fixing, plastering, painting . . . 
You name it, he'll give it a go. 

 My dad's a really keen worker, 
The keenest worker I've known. 
But he's also devoted to mum and us kids; 
No matter where he works, he always comes home. 

 My dad likes a drink with his buddies, 
A pint in the pub with the lads. 
Then his eyes twinkle all the more brightly, 
No matter how many he's had. 

 But dad's also quiet and gentle, 
A big softy on the inside. 
He'll talk away to the cats, 
And he cries at 'Surprise Surprise'. 

 My dad's not suffering any more. 
He's no longer in any pain. 
And although we'll miss him terribly, 
I know we'll see him again. 

 My dad never moaned or complained, 
No matter how tired or ill, 
He was always joking and smiling. 
I'm sure he's doing that still. 

Right now he's with our sister, 
Together in heaven they'll be. 
Dad's busy building or fixing things, 
And driving round in his JCB. 

 Happy father's day dad. Xxx