Today is my late dad’s birthday. On 6 May 1972 he was 50, on the day Leeds beat Arsenal in the Centenary FA Cup Final, so he was for one day exactly half the age of the FA Cup.
Earlier that year, an angry neighbour confronted my father in an incident that helped to shape my life philosophy. I was ten, and a friend of mine, for no good reason, threw a milk bottle against a neighbour’s house and ran away. I had done nothing wrong, so I didn’t run. The neighbour called to our house and stormed loudly into the hallway.
My father came out from the living room, and saw Mr. Angry screaming abuse at ten-year-old me, while waving a plastic bag full of broken glass. I looked up at both, at the melodramatic angle from which cartoon children see grown-ups. Was I about to see my first adult fight?
My father smiled and stretched out his hand. ‘Ah Brendan, good to see you. What can I do for you?’ Mr Angry started shouting abuse about me, and my father said, ‘Come in and have a drink and tell me about it.’ Mr. Angry sat down, glass in hand, and continued shouting abuse about me. My father asked, ‘Say when?’ as he poured the wine. Within ten minutes, Mr. Angry had apologised for his behaviour.
This is my dad speaking at my wedding to Anne, when both of them were still with us.