I had to fly to Kelowna late last month for a funeral. I think I'll save that story for another post because here I wanted to post some photos of my grandfather that I haven't seen in ages. In fact, I don't think I have more than a couple of photos of Grandpa.
I was eighteen when he died, had just graduated from high school six months before, in 1992. I was living in Red Deer at the time. I was living with my mum and Eddie (see previous post about Birthday Tribute). They were going to Kelowna for Christmas to be with Grandpa, whereas I had to stay behind and work. I spent Christmas eve with my boyfriend and his family.
My mum called me the night of Christmas day to tell me that Grandpa had died. That she had to let herself in (with her key) to my Grandpa's trailer only to discover that the top half of his body was completely black. The coroner figured he'd been dead for three days, had a heart attack.
I got on the bus the next day. Took the overnight bus from Red Deer to Kelowna. I have always hated traveling by bus, especially the overnights.
The next few days were a bit of a blur. I remember we stayed in a hotel room somewhere in Kelowna. My sister (who lived with Dad at the time) was away on a cruise with Dad, were due back on the 27th. When I called & told her, she flew out the next day. I remember it was cold, being deep winter. I have no recollection of the funeral. I don't even know which family members were present.
I do remember, however, the trip back to Red Deer in Eddie's truck. It was his old Pig (he always calls his trucks Pigs, it's kind of cute, really). I remember that the old Pig didn't have a heater that worked so for our 11-hour drive back to Alberta, the five of us (Eddie, Mum, me, my sister, Eddie's son Kris) all huddled into each other for warmth.
My Grandpa, my mother's father, was by far my favourite grandparent. He was the one that I saw most in my life. His wife Emma died ten years earlier so my memories of her are vague. I barely saw my dad's parents when they were alive, even though they lived closer. So for all intents and purposes, I haven't had a grandparent in 18 years. Everyone called him Johnny.
Johnny and Eddie were long time friends. They were fishing buddies, went camping together in the Shushwap and Clearwater in British Columbia's interior. Now that Eddie is getting to be that age, he reminds me a lot of my Grandpa.
I stayed at Eddie's house in Kelowna when I was there last month for Unc's funeral. It was great to see him and pick up where we left off, our old sense of humour still intact. He will always be, in my and my sister's eyes, a part of our family. He has photos of loved ones all over his house, including two of my Grandpa, which I took pictures of with my iPhone. One is of all of us camping, and I am probably 18 years old in that photo, it was probably the last photo of us ever taken. I don't know when the other was taken, but you can be sure it was on a fishing trip.
Note my early 90s hair.