I was saddened to learn from the local paper that Digger Jack has snuffed it. He was one of the local gravediggers when I was in my early teens.
He and his wife and son lived in one of the farm labourers’ cottages half a mile from my dad’s pub a few miles outside of Halifax.
I went to school with his son – also called Jack. This younger one who was a couple of years older than me, used to take me on the back of his motorbike up on to Rishworth moors – that’s on the rare occasions he didn’t have some young female clinging to his leather jacket.
He told me he took the lasses on to the moors, then if they didn’t let him shag ‘em he’d threaten to leave ‘em there.
He was always on at me to get a motorbike so that we could go up there together; then we’d have two lasses to play
What I didn’t let him know was that I was a late starter in the shagging department and a bit worried that if I turned out to be a lousy shagger one of the big lasses might nick my bike and leave me up there instead.
Actually, after a while this ‘late starter’ business began to worry me and I was mightily relieved when a Friend of mine introduced me to another Friend of his who, as it turned out was older than me and still hadn’t ‘had it away’.
Mind you, soon after that meeting, he did, and then he couldn’t stop. Finished up with a bad back.
Digger Jack (Shagger’s dad), couldn’t read or write. He used to come into my dad’s pub and bring in anything that had come in the post. My dad would read it to him and write a suitable response if necessary.
Shagger Jack could read and write but Digger Jack obviously preferred my dad to help him. I supposed at the time that this was because they were both Adults, dealing with things that Adults have to deal with.
But my theory of Adult to Adult dealings went out of the window as Digger Jack did something that left me gobsmacked: He came into the pub at his usual time, but my dad was out. Instead of waiting for him to return, so that they could deal in the adult stuff, he pushed an envelope over the bar. Toward me.
I knew what this silent communication meant. I’d seen it enough times between he and my dad to know what Digger expected in return. On the outside I went through the motions of taking the letter, unfolding it and reading it as if it was no big deal… but on the inside I was chuffed.
I was chuffed because I’d somehow been accepted as a Man. Digger Jack’s Actions extended his Trust toward me. And Trust is always a test. With Trust comes an expectation. In this case, he trusted me to help him with his Private affairs, and keep them Private.
Of course I didn’t tell Shagger Jack about the test. It didn’t seem right somehow, me being privy to his dad’s correspondence, and still a virgin. But I also found it odd that he would share this with me, over his son; his Flesh and Blood.
Now that I’m older, and a father myself, of course I understand why Digger looked outside of his family for help with his correspondence. I’ve long since forgotten what the letter was about, but I’ll always remember my first taste of Male responsibility.
As for getting laid, eventually it happened. For very different reasons it sticks into my memory… although it’s not a long memory (if you get my drift). But, as it says in the guide, ‘Getting laid does not make you a Man, it merely cures a temporary itch in your nuts’. Digger Jack recognising me as worthy of his Trust was a
far greater milestone on the journey to becoming a Man. Although I
could never brag about it with Shagger Jack.