Tuesday, January 22, 2008

My Grandpa

I'm one of the lucky ones and so are my children. They got to have a Great Grandpa, or as we called his father before him, Grandpa II.

Grandpa was a farmer, a school bus driver that the kids called, 'Alfie', flew airplanes, built houses, loved a good fight (usually with the government!), enjoyed going out to 'kick some tires' at car lots on Sunday afternoons, and was always up to 'go for a coffee', but, "no second cup; no tip!"

My Grandpa was the kind of grandpa that wore knitted vests; one of my first knitting projects was a striped vest, knit side to side with Phildar yarn on size, oh, I don't know 3-3.5 mm? Like I said, it was one of my first projects and I had NO idea what I was getting into. I was in Nursing School and would study for 40-50 minutes and knit on Grandpa's vest for 10 for my break. When I was finished, one side (of course) was wider than the other, but I sewed up and gave it to him; I hope it kept him warm.

I remember, when I was little, we were swimming with him in Orillia and somehow I kicked him in the eye; I really don't remember the details, but I do remember the blood and how badly I felt. I remember him suffering with gout. My Grandpa survived breast cancer.

I remember how he would laugh at his own jokes; rarely did anyone else laugh. He had a real Haw, Haw, Haw laugh and when I was a teenager I decided that that wasn't very nice for him; so I would laugh at whatever he was laughing at no matter what (except when it was at me!). And when I took my first serious boyfriend up to 'meet my grandparents' he wondered if he had missed something, because Grandpa and I were the only ones laughing....and it really wasn't that funny. But Grandpa wasn't laughing alone.

And Grandpa loooooved the ladies....

This was the last time that I got to see Grandpa; before Christmas. He had had a fall while his dear friend J, who cared for him so well for so long, was away and he ended up in the hospital. He couldn't wait to go home. But at 93, the body can't do all that you want it to and his diabetes began taking a greater hold on him. He was tickled that this 'little girl' came to see him. He would get mixed up about where he was and who was around, but he was always one for visiting and enjoyed holding hands with my girl.

In 2004 I completed a lap quilt for Grandpa. Same kind of story as the vest, I had taken a course, learned a few of the basics and took on one of the more complicated squares to whip up something for My Grandpa. I worked at it very methodically and loved the colour combinations. Grandpa began getting a bit forgetful and dissatisfied with how things were going for himself and his family around this time; so I was glad to be able to give him something to let him know, everyday, that we were thinking of him and wanting him to be comfortable.

The quilt was backed with flannelet (I love doing that, it makes them so cozy!) and called Whirligig; it's one of the few quilts that I actually labeled! Grandpa and his old friend Herb, used to make Whirligigs; grandpa missed his friend and I remember how much he enjoyed spending time with him.

I thank J for getting the quilt back to me and glad that it brought comfort to both of them for the time they shared.

My Grandpa passed away this morning. Good-bye Grandpa.

And in the spring, there will be tulips.


Cotton Picker said...

I'm very sorry about your grandpa. It's hard, I know.

This post is a lovely tribute to him.

KGB said...

As I read your post, I had a feeling, and then there it was. I'm so sorry.

This is a heart-warming post, and wonderful tribute. Your grandpa will live on in your heart.