Christmas Party

Dad was old-school and a stickler for discipline.  He had been brought up in a conservative and God-fearing Afrikaans community, had gone to war at an early age, and had spent much of his working life in the military.  The liberal attitudes which are common today were anathema to him; although he was kind-hearted and had tremendous integrity, he held old-fashioned principles and lived up to them.  In fact, he was a bit of a prude!

After his retirement in 1989, he carried on consulting for SCS for a couple of years, and then gradually tapered off and took things more easily.  It meant that he lost touch with his SCS friends to a certain extent; but he was always invited to the annual office Christmas party, and would thoroughly enjoy a few hours of reconnecting with friends over a good lunch.

For some reason one year, I was at his house on the day of the party (I think I had agreed to look after the dog). 

He got home late in the afternoon after a long lunch, which was usual, and very out of sorts, which was not, and stumbled and muttered around the house for a bit.

“Did you have a good time?” I asked.

Bad-tempered mumble: “Yes, I suppose so.”

'Well, what's the matter then?”

“I don't feel well,” he grumbled.

“Was it the food?” I asked.

Another mumble: “No, the food was fine.”

“Well, then I suppose you had too much to drink,” I said.

Snarl: “No, I did not!”

“Well, then, are you sick?” I persevered.

Even more grumpy: “No, I'm not sick!”

“Well, then, what's the matter?” I asked again.

And out came the truth: “That bloody Pat Sherry dared me to try some of that pot stuff, so I put it in my pipe and smoked it!”

He was 68.  It's never too late to have a misspent youth!

 

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