Today would’ve been my grandfather’s 103rd birthday.
There are many things I remember about my grandfather. Usually if I went to see him we would go off to some construction site on some remote mountain and cut firewood. Funny to think back and realize that the “remote” mountain we frequently worked on was actually Burnaby Mountain where there are now hundreds of condos and townhouses.
So many kind and pleasant memories. But there are a couple that really stand out for me. Another memory that really stands out for me was on my birthday when he brought me a giant gold tricycle. As it turns out the trike had been bought by my Mom and Dad but because my Grampa was the one who delivered it, for years he was given credit for bringing the awesome gold trike.
And then there was a trip I took with him to one of his friend’s cabin somewhere in the Cariboo region. The details are long forgotten but if memory serves me correctly, I was all of 4 or 5 years years old. Maybe six when we went on that trip.
I remember going out on the lake in front of the cabin in a wooden rowboat early in the morning, sometimes still wearing pyjamas! Honestly, I don’t remember specifics, I just remember the feelings of happiness and freedom.
Fast forward to when I was a young adult. I was often out with friends and up very late at night and really didn’t like getting up early in the morning. However, as my grandfather got older, he got weaker. Not everybody realized that and they often asked him to do things that really were difficult for him to do.
His sister and her husband liked to travel. And they would often ask my grandfather to drive them to the airport. Back in the old days you could fly with as large and heavy a suitcase as you wanted. His sister and her husband would pack accordingly. Well as he got older, it got more and more difficult for him to load the cases in and out of his car. So he would ask me to come and help.
I hated waking up early! But I remember once I got up around 5am and went to his place to help him load luggage and take family to the airport. I snuck up onto his deck and peered into the kitchen where he was frying a couple eggs; always sunny side up – he said he liked them to be like two orange eyes staring out of a pan full of bubbling bacon fat.
When he saw me on the porch his face lit up into an ear to ear grin. I’ll never forget that look of pure joy that filled his face.
Happy birthday Grampa. You were a good man.