"The 18th century, English lexicographer, critic and essayist, Dr. Samuel Johnson used to tell his readers that 'The love of life was a prerequisite to the vigorous prosecution of any undertaking.' My late father used to say, 'If you do anything, son, always do it well or not at all and you will feel much better for it.'
I know for a fact that my dad who left school and started work at the age of 13 years in County Kilkenny, Ireland never did read Johnson and I doubt he even heard of the man, but it just goes to show that it doesn't take the wit of a scholar or the language of a wordsmith to say something plainly and say it well. It was as if he inwardly knew that simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication and that there was no point in using big words for small matters which could be plainly spoken.
My father was a modest man of quiet demenour who believed that in conversation, most folk could be better entertained by listening to them. I suppose that he discovered early on in his life that even a fish wouldn't show itself up if it kept its mouth shut. One of the few sayings I can recall is when he said,' Don't ever argue with a fool, son, and if you do, then make sure that they aren't doing the same thing as you!'
At the age of 11 years, I was a very good footballer who was in the adult team at 'St. Patrick's Roman Catholic School' in Heckmondwike, playing alongside boys who were three and four years older than me. To me, I was one of the most aspiring footballers on the planet who was soon to find himself in great demand by the professional clubs across the land. (Little did I know at the time, that six months later while playing football on the Third Avenue of Windybank Estate where I lived, I'd be run over by a large wagon, unable to walk for three years and never play football again).
Being the eldest of seven children from a materially poor family, we couldn't afford to buy the new green and white team shirt when it was offered for sale by the school for the price of two pounds and ten shillings. As I went out the door that morning, dad called me back and said,' Put this on son. It is green and white and although big, it is better than that black t-shirt you've got to wear.' That was the very first time I learned that in his early twenties, my father had played professional football for the county of Kilkenny where he was born as well as having played for the Irish National football squad and even captained it on a couple of occasions.
Although the shirt he had given me stretched all the way down past my knees, I was never as proud as I was that day to have played in my father's shirt in which he played for Ireland in. In the words of Aesop, 'When all is said and done, more is said than done!' and through his simple action, my father made me the happiest boy in the school football team that day and the proudest of sons. God bless you, Dad, I love you." William Forde: January 30th, 2015.