For the next little while, I am going to do tribute series' for the people in my life who have passed on from this world and whom I regularly miss. There is my grand-dad, my granny, my grumpy and my sister. They all influenced my life in wonderful ways. I miss them. The first of my family to go was my grand-dad. My grand-dad was spirited, brave, intelligent and damn stubborn. My grand-dad was American and so therefore was my mom when she had me. I guess in some ways that makes me part American. I visisted Joplin, Missouri, where my mother was born and found it to be a beautiful place steeped in history. I went all through Missouri and Arkansas, the heritage of mother's family. When my grandfather died, my family let loose his ashes back in this land, the land of the south and the taste of frying catfish savoured on my tongue. Funny the things you remember.
Ny grandfather fought in world war II. He was a paratrooper. I found this out from my mom after I went skydiving for the first time. Apparently, it runs in my blood. When my mother was young, my grand-dad and grandma packed up all seven of their kids and started moving. Obviously that was after the war. He wanted to find a better place, a place where he could be free. As I said my granddad was a stubborn man. He felt there were too many rules and he wanted to live his life his way, he was a bit of rebel and I like to think I picked that up from him. I remember the stories of my grand-dad chasing those who tried to sell him something with a shotgun in his hand, defending his right to choose, to be free, to live the way he wanted to live. It was, of course, a different time. My grand-dad moved across America through Canada and finally settled in the little northern town where I was born and raised here is Alberta. He bought a whole swack of land by the lesser slave river and built his farm. He was one of the first Albertans to raise black angus cattle. Dark beasts of beauty roaming through fields of cow pie squish. I loved my grand-dad's ranch and now that it is gone, I miss everything about it.
I miss the emerald green carpet, the stack of comic books in a box by the couch, the old gas oven, the cowboy boots, hats all worn and weathered and full of muck. I miss the sight of syringes in the front porch and the bull my dad was always afraid of. I miss the sound of guitar playing and his cracked voice singing along. My grand-dad was also a musician and played the steel guitar baby with passioned moonlit cowboy song.
My grand-father died when I was 12. Death is a strange event, you never really understand it or comprehend its depth of permanency. Maybe that is why the subtlest smell, the little phrasologies of another, the twang of a chord and the visual of an image can move and tug and pull at the memory of life. Above are the words, below I will add the photos ... my tribute to my grand-dad as I remember him.