There is no person in the world I respect more than my Dad. 

Now, this isn’t a post just to balance the playing field; you know, Deb got one now onto Dad, checklist gets a tick… No no no, not at all. Hank deserves one in his own right because I think he is just awesome. 

So Hank. Hendrik Cornelius. Hunk. Or my personal fav, “Henio”. The lean, mean, water skiing machine. With his great love of Jim (Beam, that is), unbelievable intelligence and quick wit (on occasion he nails it), he is a pretty hunky dory dude.

When we were younger, my older brother Michael and I adored Hank. We’d wait with giggly anticipation for his arrival home from work each night, we’d beg him to put us to bed so we could play the tickle game, hell, we even had as one of our favourite games “Being Hank”. In this make believe Michael always got to be him, wearing his tie and basketball boots. (I was landed with the role of Judy, his dumpy receptionist). That adoration continues today, albeit in slightly different ways (Michael no longer dresses up in Dad’s clothes; at least I don’t think he does). 

If anything ever goes wrong in my life, Hank is my first port of call. Not just because he always, always knows how to rectify situations, but because he is quite literally the only person in the world who can calm me down when I get into a tizz. They don’t happen as often nowadays, but when I first moved out of home to go to Uni in Auckland I was constantly calling him freaking out. It was just after the Christchurch earthquake when all the prophecies about the end of the world were circulating, and I was in absolute pieces. I would call him millions of times a day, the conversation always along the lines of: 

Hank: “Hello Poppy.”

Me: “Dad, I’m freaking out. The world is going to end.”

Hank: “It’s not going to end.”

Poppy: “But … [insert latest irrational reason for believing it]… And what if it does?!”

Hank: “[Insert plausible response that would counteract the panic]… It’s all going to be ok.”

Poppy: “Thanks Dad. I love you.”

Hank: “You too. Bye.”

Like I’m not exaggerating for the sake of it. Countless times a day, for a good few weeks. The weekend of the impending doomsday I went back to Cambridge and wouldn’t leave my Dad’s side. Even when he went to the toilet I was on the other side of the door nervously waiting for him to empty his bladder. He ended up taking me to the pub and demanding I have a glass of red wine. (All ’twas well and good after that). 

He can fix anything. And I mean anything. I never worry when something breaks or stops working because “Hank will fix it”. My Nanna (his mother-in-law) used to be in awe of Hank’s handyman capabilities and would rave about them and how fantastic he was. (Really want to insert something wickedly mean here – not about Hank – but am practising Ommmmm and learning to be serene and loving). 

One day about four years ago, I checked my emails and there was a forward to a link on TradeMe from Hank. “Angus needs a new home” the ad declared. Reading on, it spun the story of Angus, the blind Schunauzer who needed a new home because his own father doggie was bullying him. I was in Wellington at the time. When I got home two days later, the scraggly, skinny, sightless Schunauzer was in our kitchen. 

Hank loves Angus. And Otto, our other rather rotund Schunauzer. He calls them “his boys” and I’ve never seen such a relationship between a human and dog(s). It really is a case of “man’s best mates”. We give Hank so much shit about it and mock him absolutely all the time (bestality is a common choice of phrase),  but it’s actually really beautiful and lovely. And the boys are the only two who get to share Hank’s beloved Superwine biscuits with him at night time. 

A few months ago Henio became Angry Hank when I split some water on the kitchen floor. “For fucks sake Anneke! (The proper name comes out in times of telling-off). Look at this mess!” 

I proceeded to interject that just that morning Angus had shat and vomited all up in the carpet in the hallway and he got away Scott free, to which Hank replied: “Yes, but that’s Fungi” (One of Angus’ multiple nicknames). Definitely some favouritism going on there. If I shat and vomited all up the hallway I’d be outcast into the streets.

I can always count on my Dad. He is the most humble, reliable and generous person I’ve ever come across. He’s always loading me up with Berocca, his elixir of life (I’m actually having one now; got a bulk pack fostered onto me on my departure), giving me a call just to say hi (even though I would’ve seen him that morning) and can always, always calm me down. 

The term “Daddy’s girl” always brings to mind a simpering, spoilt whiner of a female who is particularly attached to and indulged by her father. I’m not one of them.

But I’m definitely a “Hank’s girl”. And burstingly proud of it too.  

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