How would you describe your dad, grandpa or father figure in your life? A hero, a comedian, a disciplinarian, a mentor or a best friend? Whether he was a bit of a wise-cracker or a master chef in the kitchen – most of them are great at doing what they do best – loving their kids.

To celebrate Father’s Day, WYZA asked its reader to share their fondest dad memories; from heartwarming stories to hilarious tales you just can’t make up. Here are a select few:

The cat's out of the bag
By Yuki Sayeg, QLD

My father died when I was 16 but this story still cracks me up whenever I think of it. When our cat died, Dad buried her under a tree in the back yard. A few nights later Mum went into the garden and found that the dog had dug Taffy up and eaten one of its leg.

She woke Dad up, so he went out in PJs and army boots with a shovel over his shoulder and re-dug the hole. But because it was late, he decided to get rid of the towel he'd originally wrapped Taffy in and chucked it aside. He then reburied the cat and went back to bed.

The next morning, Mum discovered that he'd chucked the cat aside and buried the towel.

In-home barbershop
By Kevin Denham, NSW

My wife used to cut my hair and the falling hair would get stuck on my clothes and make me itchy. She told me to take my clothes off and step into the bath tub and all the falling hair would end up in the bottom of the tub. My parents came over for a visit and I told dad my wife had just cut my hair. He asked if she could cut his and I told him you have to strip off and stand naked in the bath tub.

He turned to my wife and said: “I'm game if you are.” We all started laughing. We miss his wit and humour.

A splashing surprise
By Liberta Mitten, VIC

When I was 10 years old, I was in a swimming race from school. My mum couldn't come to watch, with three young children at home and my dad was at work. Although I was a very good swimmer, I didn't really care about the race since my parents would not be there. But half way through the race I heard my dad’s voice yelling out: “Go girl, I am here.”

He had slipped away from work to be there. So I sprinted as hard as I could, as I was behind in the race and didn't want to disappoint my dad.

I had two laps to go and finished up winning my race – and the next one.

I adored my dad. He taught me to swim when I was two years of age. He helped me always, and encouraged me to dive off a 10-meter board. Great memories! I am now 86 years old.

Just married
By Beverley Wrenn, QLD

Funny thing about my late Dad; I was told that while he and my mother were on their honeymoon, he went to the reception at the place where they were staying and asked if they had seen his girlfriend. The receptionist said: “No, but your wife has just gone back to your room.”

“Oh,” said Dad, “I forgot I just got married.”

Daddy's little princess
By Kathy Roberts, NSW

My dad has been gone for 21 years. Unfortunately, we no longer have photos from when I was little as they all got burnt in a house fire but he was my hero, my rock.

I always remember the times when he would come home from work calling out, “Where’s my princess?” I would run to him and jump in his arms where he would greet me and ask, “How is my little princess?” He did that right up until the day he died of a heart attack.

He was there to walk me down aisle and I left my wedding photo in his coffin, but I will always carry him close to my heart. No one could ever replace my dad. To this day, I tell my grandkids all about him and how I was his princess, and now I call my granddaughters, “my little princesses”.

Scribble, Scramble, Scrabble
By Ann Darbyshire, NSW

My dad, George, was born into a large family in Ireland and together with many of his siblings, he only had a casual relationship with spelling. He turned to Scrabble as a means of improving this, which became necessary for writing reports in a job in Western Australia where our family had emigrated. He became a keen and competitive player. However, his spelling still occasionally let him down.

With great confidence he would plop down a word that bore no resemblance to anything in English. We would remonstrate with him: “That's not a word,” we chorused. Undeterred he would respond, “Well, it should be!”

Running with the horses
By Karen Gaynor-Sperring, NSW

My Pop was a tough old bugger. He had to be! Leaving school at 11, when the bank foreclosed on the family property, it was off to work for him. No high wages for a kid in those days – just enough to eat if you were lucky or back luck otherwise. A job during those times was droving, sheep or cattle; it took a few people to move them along and a boy was as good as any man – and cheaper. Pop proved good with the horses so breaking them in became part of his job and later, he trained them for racing.

He won a few country races for his owners. It was being thrown from a horse and breaking a leg that showed his stubbornness. In those days it was standard treatment to amputate. His father and a brother had both lost legs this way. But he said “NO!” because he was determined to die with both legs attached – and made his point to any medical person who approached. I'd not be telling this tale if the doctors' predictions had been fulfilled, but he amazed them by living. Amongst his other quirks my grandfather did not sit around the campfire drinking billy tea, as seemed the default social custom of the time. He never drank anything stronger than water.

My grandfather finally retired at seventy-two, but he did give up breaking in horses at sixty-five. I doubt there's many of us who would wish to work so long.

Sweet tooth
By Althia Davis, VIC

Granddad, along with my five-year-old son and myself, were waiting at the counter of a shop. On the counter was a bowl of lollies, which my son was eyeing very seriously. The man at the counter asked my son if he would like a lolly, to which my son said, “Yes, please.”

He then also asked Granddad if he wanted one too. “Oh no,” said my son, “you can't give Granddad any because he hasn't got any teeth.”

To which Granddad piped up, “Oh yes I have! They’re in my pocket.” And he proceeded to take them out and put them on!

Frequent flyer
By Diane Richardson, WA

My Dad was always running late. One time he had to catch the plane at the local airport, but the plane was at the end of the runway so he got Mum to drive him down the side of the runway. They actually lowered the steps and he caught the plane! It wouldn't happen these days, and mum refused to take him to the airport after that.

War hero
By Ian James, ACT

My father has always maintained that he ended the Second World War. He had started training with the Australian Air Force as a radio operator and when the Japanese got wind of this, they surrendered. We've had fun with this story for years.

The simple life
By Jennifer Manison, TAS

My dad, Tom Sutton, worked all his life in a sheet metal factory in Lea Village, Birmingham, England. Every year my parents took our family of three daughters on holiday for a week so we could make sandcastles, paddle in the sea and breathe the fresh air – often travelling to Christchurch in New Zealand, Torquay in Victoria or Ilfracombe in Queensland.

My parents never had a car and my dad never had a holiday abroad. He lived a very simple life. He would have a bottle of beer and put a small bet on the horses every Saturday; the rest of his wages went on rent, food, bills and other things for his family.

For 10 years he kept from everyone that he had cancer, until it became obvious. His philosophy was to just get on with life and not complain. Just before he died my mom told me that, when he was a boy, my dad had the chance to go to grammar school. So he set off for his appointment there, but got lost, and nobody followed it up. I can't bear to think of the opportunity he missed but he enjoyed his life and was the best father we could have wished for.

Note: some of these stories have been edited for clarity.

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