Bernie Davis 1945 - 2021
Laura remembers her Dad…..
A Man of Stories My Dad was a man of stories. Sometimes they were set to music, the words whisking us onboard a wave-battered square-rigger. Sometimes they were borrowed, like when he read Tolkien’s The Hobbit to us as children, deep-voiced for the foolish trolls and sly for the dragon Smaug. Often they were tinged with mischief. Once he told my French penpal there are two Mersey Tunnels because the diggers started on both sides of the river and missed each other in the middle. For one, marvellous second I believed him. There was almost nothing you could tell Dad about that he didn’t already know of. A simple remark could set him off on a train of spoken thought that would submerge him for so long you wondered if he would ever come back to reality. As teenagers we would sometimes roll our eyes but we were always grateful for these conversations like no others, which would meander through Ancient Rome, 1950s Woolton and European holidays past; through the pages of Shakespeare plays and Dickens novels; into smoky folk clubs, down the Mississippi river and back to our kitchen table. His music formed the soundtrack of our childhood. Carols played on the guitar as we made our way upstairs to bed on Christmas Eve, candlesticks in hand. When we sang Happy Birthday before blowing out the candles on one of Mum’s amazing cakes, it was always accompanied on whatever instrument was closest to hand. At my wedding, Dad’s musical saw set the pace for the first dance, and he provided live music for pass-the-parcel at his grandchildren’s birthday parties. Perhaps most precious of all were the ordinary days, when we were all just getting on with ordinary things to the sound of his guitar in another room. When we were very little we assumed everyone had a Dad who could play the melodeon wearing boxing gloves, who could make little dancing dolls out of a bit of wood and some old paint, who could build a rabbit hutch in an afternoon when our pets turned out to be incompatible roommates, who had a corduroy snail that could jump through a hula hoop in a ludicrously brilliant circus trick. He and Mum taught us the importance of appreciating the things we have, the value of doing things as well as we can and of making up our own minds. We grew up in the security of knowing we always have their support. His advice to ‘cross that bridge when you come to it’ and ‘remember we’re all on the same team’ are words to live by. It is very hard to believe that he has gone. But our memories of him, his songs and his stories live on. Thank you Dad .