The year I was seven, we flew from Alberta to Newfoundland for Christmas. I remember only two things from this trip:
The first was my brother received a go-cart on Christmas Day. He was understandably thrilled. My parents were understandably unthrilled. Instead of shipping the go-cart 4000 km home, it was exchanged for a wood burning kit. The go-cart did not interest me, but I coveted that wood burning kit. It promised both artistic expression and danger.
What could be better? Answer: everything and anything. Wood burning kits -- my brother and I would learn in short order -- are lame.
The second memory is building a snowman in the backyard of my grandparent's house. When construction was done, my grandfather filled a copper plant mister with water and added drops of food colouring. The first batch was green. The second, yellow. Within twenty minutes our snowman was the Incredible Hulk.
There are photos from that day. I don't have copies, but I remember them clearly. In the first photo Grandad and I are looking at the camera and smiling. In the second, Grand-dad is pulling on the pom-pom of my yellow and blue Get Crackin' toque, much to my consternation. In the third one, he's placed my toque on The Hulk's head. I'm running toward the camera my face red with anger. The photo caught Grand-dad mid-laugh, enjoying the spectacle of my mood swing, my overreaction to a minor prank and my dramatic exit from the scene.
On Friday, Grand-dad died. He was 92.