Saturday, August 20, 2011

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.


  1. Oh Nan. I'm so sorry to read this. My own grandpa is 91 and I tell you what, I fear that day. :-( I'm sorry for your loss. I'd make you some tea and laugh with you through some tears if only I lived a wee bit closer.

  2. I'm sorry to hear about your granddad. I like your memories of the snowman.

    Q: Who gave your brother a go-cart? I can't imagine giving someone something that size who lived across the country...

  3. I'm sorry about your Granddad. That is quite a memory. Very vivid.

  4. @Omaha Mama -- that sounds lovely.

    @Nicole -- the go-cart came from my uncle. His wife had bought my brother clothes, & he thought it was a horrible gift for a 9 yo boy. So he returned the clothes, & bought the go-cart.

    @Marilyn -- Thanks.

  5. So sorry for your family, Nan. Did you get to visit him during your travels this summer?

    When I am exhausting myself with so many extra-curricular activities for my kids, I try to remind myself that they will remember some of the basic stuff - like I remember tossing the ball with my grandfather in the front yard or you remember building a snowman with yours. :(

  6. So sorry sounds like you have some wonderful memories.

  7. I'm so sorry to hear about your grandpa. And I also longed for and was disappointed with a woodburning kit.

  8. The motley snowmen are among some of my favourite memories as well, but my memory ends with Grand-dad going inside, pretending he’d locked the back door, and chuckling as I went to pieces at the (very real) possibility of freezing to death on the back porch.

    I carried the well-established tradition of over-reacting into the second wave of Malone grandchildren.

    FYI: He did unlock the door. I may have gotten a shortbread cookie for my troubles.

  9. Oh GAH. I am just catching up. So sorry. Losing grandparents is HARD. My grampa died last year, also at 92. I still miss him.