Did you know my dad?

by Rod Smith

Did you know my dad? He owned the tearoom near the top of Blackburn Road next to the Dutch Reformed Church, up the road from Parkhill soccer club. You may or not have known him by name but you may have been a woman in need of milk for her baby. He would have given it to you under the counter as if defying the boss which was, of course, himself. When you tried to pay he may have whispered “take the milk my dear. No baby should go without food. Keep your money for something else the baby needs.” Or, you may have wandered into the shop and said you had no place to stay for a while and he may have said “we have plenty of room here” and given you a bed for a week, a month, even longer. Perhaps you knew him because you faced addiction to alcohol and he was your Alcoholics Anonymous sponsor and he said “just for today” to you and told you he’d decided he’d no longer drink “just for today” until his pledge spanned decades of sobriety. Did you know my dad? You may not have known him by name but perhaps you went to his tearoom where he served bread, milk, kindness and good humor and wrapped the goods with the feeling that you were known, that you belonged.

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