Monday, 27 August 2012

Rest in rhythm Frank D. Frost

Rest in rhythm Frank D. Frost
27 August 2012

So my dad would have been 60 years old today.  I still find it hard to believe that he died 13 and a half years ago.  I didn’t really think it was possible, even for cancer to stop him and was convinced right until the end that he would fluke death.  And for the longest time after his death, it felt like he was just away on a long tour with the Blues Broers.  Bit of a coping mechanism, I think.
I somehow don’t think he would have aged gracefully though.  Oh, he would’ve looked way cool, with the whole distinguished grey hair thing, I don’t mean that.  What I mean is that he would still only have been a big kid in an adult’s body.  He never lost the ability to get excited, even over silly things.  At 46 when he died, Zoo biscuits were still his favourite treat.  And my mom always said that he was her eldest child, not me.

I miss hearing his deep voice, the sound of his laughter and getting an awesome hug from him – he was really good at giving those.  And one of my greatest regrets is the fact that he never got to know my kids.  He had the joy of Luke as a baby, but he never got to see the person he’s become.  I remember being so miffed with him after Amber was born, because he wasn’t around to see her.  And in fact his death really hit me hard then – nearly 3 years after the event.

But how blessed are we not?  We have the proof of his creativity all around us.  We are all blessed with beautiful paintings, sketches and even the odd sculpture – I have the most beautiful wooden carving he did of my mom when she was about 9 months pregnant with me.  So special.  We have CD’s, where his drumming talent is just so there for all to hear.  We have poignant home videos that make me cry whenever I watch them, and sometimes laugh out loud.  We have lots and lots of photos and even slides – luckily for us, quite a few members of the clan like taking photos and filming of home movies.  The memory of the man, father, musician and fun person that he was, will always linger.

Every morning, I see him in the mirror, because I’ve got his eyes and his olive complexion.  Deeply grateful for both of those.  I also see lots of him in my brother and sister and even in my kids. Mannerisms, habits and physical traits.  His legacy will live on.

This morning, I told the kids that Oupa Frank would’ve been 60 today.  And without missing a beat, Amber asked if we were going to get a cake for his birthday.  Of course, yes!  We get one every year and celebrate his birthday.  Amber said that she wouldn’t want him to think that we’ve forgotten about him and don’t care about him.  “It’s not like he’s dead to us, you know”, she said.  And she’s so right.  In my heart he’ll live forever.

Which brings me to Amber’s take on his death when she was little.  She has a marvellous imagination – I think it’s my fault, because I suppose, I have one too.  We were speaking about him once, as we do so often and Amber piped up saying “Oupa Frank died cauthe a thark ate him" (she had the cutest little lisp).  Ermmm…..Really?  This was indeed news to me.  We sort of left it at that, because she seemed so chuffed with the knowledge and we were so taken aback with her little tale, that once the laughter died down, we sort of lost the moment to correct it.  And then a few weeks later, yet again in conversation she said that “Oupa Frank died, becauthe he fell in the pool, and then a thark ate him”.  It truly was most peculiar.  We tried persuading her that her take on events was not quite accurate, but have you ever tried reasoning with a three year old?  In her opinion at least, her story was so much more exciting.  She would not budge.  And still later, it changed too “Oupa Frank, was moking (she couldn’t say smoking), and then he fell in the pool and a thark ate him”.  And finally a few weeks down the line it turned into “Oupa Frank got thick (no, not fat – sick – it’s the lisp again), because he was moking, then he fell in the pool and a thark ate him”.  Years down the line, it has become a family joke of sorts and we’re still not sure where the whole shark story comes from.  And let’s be honest, it was not a good story line from Amber – where do you get sharks in a pool?  I mean had she said that he got “thick from moking and fell in the thea and then a thark ate him”, it would have been way more believable.  In fact perhaps even plausible, if you overlook the fact that he almost never swam in the sea.

Anyway, I have bought our cake for tonight for after our supper.  I’ve even got candles and I think I shall have to go and get some zoo biscuits too.

I just bet he’s going to have an awesome party tonight wherever he is.  Jamming with Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan.  They’ll have a couple of beers, perhaps a shooter or two, light up a smoke (his beloved Gauloises Plains), sit around chatting and then start playing.  Oh, but to be a fly on the wall. 

Rest in rhythm Frankie-Baby.  Absolutely convinced you're raising hell where ever you are, having a marvellous time.  We’re still missing you long time.



  1. Special day, special memories, specially captured

  2. Beautifully written Helene! We are indeed fortunate to have all these reminders.
    Yes, Daddy was very special, larger than life!
    My oudste!

  3. Wow! Such a wonderful way to remember your dad. x

  4. Awesome tribute Helene. I remember shooting some video footage of Frank joining Black Frost on stage at a Zum Bacchus Sunday evening gig many years ago. It may have been in 1993. I hope that footage is still around somewhere. I am very grateful to have known your Dad.


  6. Willem van der Merwe6 October 2013 at 00:12

    Helene, you are an excellent writer. I knew Frank from way back, when I was playing with Artvark and later Swing The Cat.

  7. Wonderful tribute & thx for sharing it. Beautifully written too.

  8. Beautiful recollections of your Dad and wonderful how you keep his memory alive. The closeness of your family is very special.