The Dave Beeton Special

dave and Jess and PCG 183I think the Dave Beeton Special, hereafter known as the DBS was the greatest concession Dave ever made to how things actually are in the world.

Consequences were not his strong point which meant that every moment came to him as a sort of surprise. This genuine innocence and delight in the simple things like food or a clean house used to win ladies over in the smoko trucks at work and his cleaning lady cried when he left as far as she was concerned his condition as she called it, mainly had to do with his inability to do any cleaning. But he could clean. Spotless clean. He even helped me clean other people’s houses with one hand in plaster after he’d smashed it working as an apprentice diesel fitter. And we never had any complaints. On the home front he would clean conscientiously to please me. His style was unique and it was lucky we usually had a large verandah, you see DBS housecleaning mandated all the furniture be out of the house. So there it would be all over the verandah and Dave inside ‘jus’ finishin the moppin’. The weekly DBS major house clean was a furniture moving half day event and it was a sparkling Dave who presented the sparkling house with DBS delight.

The DBS featured strongly in the cooking department. It described a bread and sultana scone like affair he called duff, his spaghetti bolognaise, a cup of tea made by him, and his very own mashed potato.All of which hed offer us with the absolute confidence of a child sure he would please. And no-one could feed the animals like Dave. No-one. Hed get out there with the blurto which he truly believed prevented constipation in the critters, mix it with all the food scraps hed collected and the rice he had cooked over the last 24 hours. The cat would curl around as he mixed and the dog would stay down and gaze up at him with adoration, having completely forgotten the pain and indignity of the boot up the jacksie hed suffered earlier on. The takeaway DBS was a special and intimate occasion dog and Dave on the steps sharing a bucket of hot chips: two for me and one for you two for me, one for you.

There were other DBSs that were more problematic. The DBS we had when he began adjusting the timing on our new car, required a new engine in that area. Another DBS came in three fold. Always in pursuit of a Harley, he found one, the one, right year, right model, right colour, right coolness. We rushed to the bank to apply for the loan, no time was lost in the getting of this bike, he arrived home with all the papers, a loan approval, a bill of sale, a huge smile, a vaguely concerned expression which was later explained by the fact hed lost his job. You see the strain of all the paperwork running around meant he was unable to go to work and the barge left without him, so there we were high and dry with debt and without income. But that really wasn’t the point you see this Harley was one wife’s signature away, so I shrugged and figured we would sort this out: the joy of the bike was almost too much for him to bear he was hopping with excitement! Infuriating … and funny.

His daughter Jessica understood well all the principles of the DBS especially when it involved the closely related principle of immediate gratification. For Dave and Jess ‘goin shoppin ‘ was an opportunity to grant his daughters heart’s desire large or small. He was especially good at buying that third school bag, that fifth pair of school shoes, that eighth phone always strrictly on the basis of need. The other thing he was very good at was finding and enjoying the most evil takeaway a kid could want. He loved it and so did she, it was an event they both cherished and grew fat on. Saying no to Jessica was a trial he only occasionally very occasionally put himself through. He would profess to be outraged by her demands but she knew if she just stuck by him and moved him toward the object of her desire he wouldn’t be able to resist putting that smile on her face- the one no-one can help having when they have just got exactly what they wanted. He loved it and loved spoiling her and himself silly. This also meant Dave had to work very hard because, as he always said Jess was ‘a very expensive baby to run.’

Finally the DBS compassion was beyond comparison. Dave understood instinctively how people felt and never intentionally hurt anyone in his life who didnt deserve it. Jess used to melt into his hugs, she was always his little girl. But his understanding extended far beyond Jess and was the reason he fell into friendships so easily. He accepted people for who and what they were and then decided how much he wanted to have to do with them, as he grew older it wasn’t that much ‘too many dickheads’, he’d say. But you didn’t have to do much to be friends with Dave; all it required was that you stayed exactly who you were. He respected that even when it gave him the shits. This meant that it was a wide variety of people he got on with. And a wide variety of places he stayed at. One time it was his turn to stay behind and look after the mining camp. He had a puppy for company and the camp was well stocked up with food and drink so he felt pretty right. The stillness brought the bush in closer. Sleeping he heard the pup yelp. That began one hectic scramble allover the donga as stricken with fear and panic he grabbed everything he thought might work to kill the snake that was strangling his pup. He chopped it in half with a shovel and then had to pry its body away from around the dog who had stopped breathing. He cradled the pup in his hands and made it’s chest go in and out … like this. It came back. It’s a great story and one of the many that I was lucky enough to enjoy over the years. A Dave Beeton Special.

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Joshua Gans
14 years ago

Thanks for the wonderful portrait. Is it your eulogy, or part thereof?

muse desires
13 years ago

Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties.