June 29th is my Dad’s Birthday, so I thought I’d surprise him, and probably everyone else in my family, by writing a blog article dedicated to the one and only Trevor Copeland. Part of the reason it would be a surprise is that I’ve never remembered before! In fact the only reason why I knew this time was because Facebook told me. Of course I’m going to look a proper muppet if the birthday on his Facebook profile is wrong. Would that really be my fault though?
Let’s get started. My Dad, Trevor Copeland, is awesome. He may not look it, but he’ll fool you. This man has been a great inspiration to me. A teacher, a storyteller, a best friend, and he’s always able to challenge my thinking. Some might say we fight, and we do, but it’s always been out of love. In fact, probably because I was already thinking of my Dad, I mentioned one of the most frustrating arguments my Father ever made to my friend Alex today. Religion has been a favorite topic of mine for most of my life, and has been a frequent topic for debate between me and my Dad. He’s been a devout Christian ever since I was a teenager, around about the same time I stopped going to church and developed an interest in pantheism.
We were in the kitchen, at the house on Hibbert Road in my home town of Barrow-in-Furness, and the war to save my soul was getting a little heated. Dad finished the argument with something I have never forgotten and I still have no comeback for. This was close to 20 years ago. He pointed out that I wasn’t just baptised, but confirmed also. Therefore, whether I liked it or not, my soul now belongs to God, and I was going to heaven whether I liked it or not! It made me pretty angry at the time.
He’s always thought of himself as unintelligent, but he’s one of the smartest people I know. It might be because he was raised with a ‘make do and mend’ philosophy by his wonderful Mother (I miss you terribly Grandma Copeland), but he’s always been able to find a simple and practical solution to problems. I loved to help him with DIY as a kid, and at some point in every project we would come upon some snag. Sometimes the snag wasn’t something urgent, but when it was it would be great watching him think, move through the problem, and figure out how to get everything to fit and hold together. It was particularly enjoyable watching bend pipe for plumbing to get it to fit a particularly awkward arrangement of connections, or holding a piece of wood steady as he cut off another sliver.
Besides being smart enough to trip my clever mouth up and very handy around the house, my Dad is also the greatest storyteller ever! For those who follow my blog, you might remember this. The magnificent Trevor never-had-a-middle-name Copeland would tell my younger Sister and I fantastic tales of Narnia-like adventure, starring me and my Sister! He would make these stories up on the spot, continuing the tale from where he had left off before. He would use friends and relatives as characters we met on the adventure. They would be Oz like doubles who had no idea who we were talking about. We loved it and would beg him for more. He’s also make up not so epic tales, like the one about a big scary dog who was terrified of cats. He would also tell us stories from history. He told me all about Vikings, and Romans, and Celts. Taught us about Greek legends, the rise and fall of the Mongolian Empire, and the teachings of Ghandi. We learned a lot of this from Mum, and school, too, but Dad always has a way to bring to life and make it real.
I love my Dad. He’s been such a great inspiration to me. I hope you’re reading this Dad, and know that I love you. This is for you. Not just this article. My writing. I can’t bend a pipe like you can, or debate as well as you can, but you taught me well how to tell a story. You have always believed in me. For you, I’m going to put the name ‘Copeland’ on bookshelves. You’ll be able to say proudly “That’s my Son” when you see people reading one of my books. I’ll be able to pay you and Mum back for everything you’ve done for me. It’s the least I can do. I’m so proud of everything you’ve accomplished, and to be your Son.
Happy Birthday Dad. 🙂