Blog description.

Accentuating the Liberal in Classical Liberal: Advocating Ascendency of the Individual & a Politick & Literature to Fight the Rise & Rise of the Tax Surveillance State. 'Illigitum non carborundum'.

Liberty and freedom are two proud words that have been executed from the political lexicon: they were frog marched and stood before a wall of blank minds, then forcibly blindfolded, and shot, with the whimpering staccato of ‘equality’ and ‘fairness’ resounding over and over. And not only did this atrocity go unreported by journalists in the mainstream media, they were in the firing squad.

The premise of this blog is simple: the Soviets thought they had equality, and welfare from cradle to grave, until the illusory free lunch of redistribution took its inevitable course, and cost them everything they had. First to go was their privacy, after that their freedom, then on being ground down to an equality of poverty only, for many of them their lives as they tried to escape a life behind the Iron Curtain. In the state-enforced common good, was found only slavery to the prison of each other's mind; instead of the caring state, they had imposed the surveillance state to keep them in line. So why are we accumulating a national debt to build the slave state again in the West? Where is the contrarian, uncomfortable literature to put the state experiment finally to rest?

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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Dad’s Funeral: My Speech.



Growing up with Dad and my family: the below is the speech I nervously - hate public speaking - gave to a packed Rowley Avenue Church Hall, Christchurch, all seats upstairs and downstairs full. I read off notes, so it’s not as spoken, exactly, but as near as I can reconstruct (including asides.) Fair to say this was the only secular part of the program.



Dad's death is an abrupt stop, then a pause to think about our family and the course of it through the years. More particularly, to take stock of that formative, private family history that Lieuwe, Paul, Henry and Pauline - the marriage imports - are party to by proxy only: it’s that history of the day to day of any family as it grows up, laughs at its own jokes, no matter how corny, of how its members scrap and stoush from time to time over the odd disagreement, the odd adolescent tantrum even, though in our case never to seriously fall out because the glue of mum and dad was strong. Indeed, because of this I have, or hope I do, a certain leeway to give a glimpse of the internal workings of this family Dad was patriarch over.

I started life by dodging a bullet which had been heading through time and lineage with my name on it: after four daughters Mum and Dad had no basis on which to expect a son, so the name picked out for me was going to be Elsbeth: I fear that was going to be a very different life. (Apologies to any Elsbeths' in the room: it's a great ... 19th early 20th century name.) As for we siblings, between the two book ends of Christine the eldest, and myself, youngest, there are, as you will all know, three sisters, Sheryl, Barbara and Philippa.

If recollection serves me correctly, neither Sheryl or Philippa proved to have major behavioural issues nor, therefore, to be particular parenting problems. Relatively calm seas. I’m not saying, Philippa, you were Miss Goody Two Shoes showing the rest of us up, … or perhaps I am :)

On the other hand, Christine …who will be relieved to know there’s not a lot I can disclose, other than hearsay. The thing is, I don’t remember growing up with Christine because of the age gap between us; we’ve gotten to know each other outside the family home, first when I stayed with her and Paul on their dairy farm in school holidays – and I still remember swearing, robustly, at the world on having to get up to milk those damned cows, Paul. Then more so latterly, we’ve become familiars and friends via the both of us being South Cantabrians. But fair to say, by all accounts Christine was a difficult one, cutting Mum and Dad’s parenting teeth early on the barbed wire wrapped rusk of teenage rebellion, through which Dad, who probably would have made a great UN Peacekeeper, yet must have negotiated the family as well as could be, because we're all here, aren't we. Sadly, what he and Mum couldn't have realised in those early days - proving not knowing our futures is a survival feature not a design fault - is via a different iteration on the well-trodden theme, more teenage rebellion was to be heading their way.

Barbara. Stoic, loner tendencies, head in a book Barbara, who, tomboyish, was far more useful helping Dad out on our poultry farm than I ever was; I came up with stoic only as I wrote this, a trait which definitely comes from Dad: stoic, steady, a certain no-nonsense unflappability, which, when I thought more on it, Philippa has too, in bucket loads, and you, Sheryl. (Christine? .... No, you didn't get that, I’m afraid, nor I.) But Barbara had her moments also, her difficult times, including those spent hiding out from the school bus at Greenpark, behind the sofa. We're not much for crowds, us Hubbard's, any of us, and what is a school but a crowd. Her logic was true, as was her choice, no doubt, to homeschool Ben and Josh.

Which leaves me. I guess all I can say is sorry, Dad, and reflect with due admiration on your prudent, casual management style. Dad's imperturbable temperament made it through my growing phases pretty much unscathed: the red hair, the dreadlocks, and the earrings all passed with only the odd wry smile, and no word of condemnation or judgement. Not outright anyway. I suspect he had an opinion, but wisely, against a teenager’s want, had the good sense simply not to bite, (unlike mum, aye). And then there were what I will euphemistically call the religious wars, fought Sunday after Sunday morning over our pet rams made into saveloys, and Watties tomato sauce, from which, regardless, the family again arrives intact to this day, Dad never angry with me, not really, always that even surface of his, wisely prepared to cede short term skirmishes, here and there, his eye to that peace necessary for strong familial bonds in the long run; all worked out pretty well I reckon, there's to be no Osage County after-funeral luncheon following this service – (that's a movie reference if you've not seen it, August: Osage County starring Meryl Streep: word for the wise, don’t watch it anytime close to a parent’s funeral.)

And so out of all that family history, thanks to Dad’s unflappability balancing mum’s sometimes flappability :) we had something that is perhaps rarer today, although, and it's linked, my sisters and their husbands have all provided it for their families: we had a loved childhood, and a stable home, despite the inevitable differences, and how middle class and uncool that was at school. Strange how the mind works, because over the last week I’ve had a lot of scattered, disparate memories about our home life and of growing up with family and friends which in some indefinable how, are applicable to Dad and today … In no particular order:

I remember family caravan holidays with the Lawrys’. You wouldn’t get me on a caravan holiday today, too claustrophobic, bad plumbing, but they were fun. And Norma remains a stalwart boon for Mum; thank you Norma.

I remember much time spent with Aunty Yvonne – Mum’s sister - & Uncle Murray. Fun times with  cousin Russ, who we don't see enough of these days.

I remember like yesterday lots of great times with Pam and Maurice Wilson and family; playing pool and table tennis with Randal, Curtis and Bradley in the games-room at Weedons, despite Randal has subsequently tried to burst my eardrum piloting a plane up Mt Cook.

I remember Christmases at Dad's sister, Aunty Audrey, with Neroli, Jocelyn, Jarrod, Roger and Jenny and family, plus that agitated little dog jumping up and down in the laundry.

I remember evenings,  always long summer evenings with lots of tall trees, at Dee-anne and Gordon Field’s, fun times with Bundy, Fliss and Rick though I’ve not seen you all for years … also the story of that little dog that ate too much one Xmas and popped. (Sorry I don’t know why this dog theme has snuck in).

I remember cricket on the lawn at Clem and Claire Lewis. (I've scribbled out my bit on the World Cup final.)

And much more. Nothing stunning, thankfully it was as standard as childhoods should be, perhaps with an overall excess of good. Lazy summers - at least from a kid's eye view - and  family outings etched into memory, Dad driving us there always too slowly, holding up the traffic, in whatever model of Chev car we had at the time.

If I was asked to define the essence of dad, it would be Dad as that quiet, steady and calm stillness sitting in the lounge or the dining room, keeping it and us together … unless my memory plays tricks, and he was more simply bemused, or perhaps just befuddled by us all. Though the reason I don’t think that is because bringing this back to my hair - often pondered now that I’m losing it for I inherited neither Dad's love of tractors, nor, unfortunately, his thick crop of hair - there was the one time I remember cracking that wry smile, and eliciting an actual chuckle from him, namely when I arrived home once sporting three rows of blue spikes in the form of a Mohawk, the tip of each spike painted white, sides shaven. And that wise chuckle from Dad would’ve been brave in the face of Mum’s more disappointed take on the whole venture, no doubt wondering where it was all going to end with her sorry looking son. Sorry to have done that to you Mum.

Albeit of course, it all had to end with us here, at some stage, sadly, though not sadly also. Death brings contemplation on past thoughts and deeds, and impresses on us the need of making the most of today and tomorrow, because they are fleeting. Especially as Dad’s days might have been more fleeting than they were. In many ways he was a miracle man, he had his first open heart surgery at 48 years old, and modern medicine and probably in no small part his peaceable nature gave him another 34 useful, valuable years more, and perhaps my one regret for him.

Probably you’re not supposed to cover regrets at funerals, I have no idea, and I admit to being etiquette challenged, but I will nonetheless …

Dad enjoyed his life, I reckon, and just as I truly can't ever remember him angry, certainly not yelly, shouty raised voice angry, ever, that was never his way, nor do I remember him complaining about his lot, or even us lot, not once. This despite - noting I’ve spent the last twenty three years variously telling farmers how much tax they have to pay, or more often, how big the losses have grown to - that a certain bunch of circumstances, in the form of a certain bunch of nutters who shall not be named – well no, Exclusives - conspired against him, directly and indirectly, seeing out his time sheep and cropping farming, which he would have liked. That is regretful. Though he had his vintage tractors, latterly the vintage magazine up to some years ago, and writing his machinery books to keep him occupied and linked to his love of the land. As my final comment on Dad and I, all these topics – vintage, tractors and machinery - are frankly a mystery to me, though not his love of mucking about with words. We had that in common, and pretty much the whole family loves reading and books which must have come from Mum and Dad. And in that milieu somewhere is also Sheryl, Dad, and all those jigsaws. But on Dad's writing, I’ll finally make a promise: as Barbara got stuck with the proofing of it, at some stage I'm going to read his whole 150 ruddy years of Massey Ferguson, or Harrison or whatever they are, those red tractors, and all their history thereof; though probably not all at once; I’ll look rather to reading that book over a 150 months, starting perhaps wine night Fridays to ease the pain a bit.

As my final comment on Dad and family, his death is as it always will be, the end of an age, a good, kind age, because he was a gentle-man, albeit the end of this age is not quite yet the end of the Hubbard name. From all us kids, from me, thanks for doing the dad thing well, Dad, and fare thee well. Mum, I don’t aim to be doing this public speaking lark in a hurry again, so you need to stick around for a bit, please.

4 comments:

  1. My condolences on your Dad's death. I miss mine more than I can say and didn't say anything at the funeral because I couldn't think how to verbalise how someone makes you a man. I was sort of off the hook because I'm not the eldest.

    3:16

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    Replies
    1. I hate public speaking, but, only son. We all remember in our own way; I didn't do the speech for Dad and I, but for mum.

      Cheers for the kind words 3:16.

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    2. Hi Mark

      Thanks for sharing those memories of your Dad and your family life growing up. Time gives us perspective, and allows for an appreciation of parents and family that we are less able to grasp during our pointy haired years.

      I’ve been thinking about you during this time.

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