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Happy birthday, Pa

Today is Pa’s birthday, was he still with us he would be 102 and no doubt, still receiving his fans, showing them round his hangar and regaling them with his many stories. In return they filled the collection boxes for his beloved museum at Flixton and the RAF Benevolent Fund. Well, sadly he is not with us any longer but he has left us many wonderful memories.

Pa’s attitude to his birthdays was always rather negative. He didn’t like them, or at least he said he didn’t. His seventieth was no exception. He was very miserable at breakfast. He didn’t want any fuss he said, and he would rather forget all about it. This did not bode well. Ma had arranged a surprise party (always an extremely dangerous thing to do).  A large number of friends had been invited and with his persistent and all pervasive gloom she was getting nervous.

Pa waltzing with the Great Dane

At 7.30 he was still in his oily old work clothes and very reluctant to change into something cleaner. Why bother?  What he really wanted was a glass of wine and his dinner and just as he sat down, glass in hand, a car came up the drive.  “Visitors.”, he grumbled. Ma shot to answer the door before he could but then another car came up and another. “Ma!”, he said. “There’s more of them. What the hell’s going on?” He strode to the front door most put out, then the truth dawned, it was a PARTY. He turned round, his face like thunder and without another word disappeared upstairs.

Ma was really worried, what if he was so annoyed he stayed in his room all evening? But to our relief moments later he was back, dressed in full mess kit, the very life and soul. He had a wonderful time and was still enjoying himself the next morning. I caught sight of him, still in his mess kit, waltzing the Great Dane round the lawn. Happy birthday, Pa.

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