Off The Grid

Living off the Grid on a west coast island

Meet that grandfather


I never met my father’s father. If I did, I don’t remember. His son, my father walked out of our door, never to return when I was in elementary school. I understand that other than a broken moral compass my father was generally considered to be a nice guy. He must have been fairly charming to be married to three women, at once. I always understood that his Dad was a rough tough Prairie guy, who brought electricity to the Peace River district. I knew nothing else about him.

My sister and I have had one tiny disagreement on my disposition of Mom’s property. My sister’s view is that private papers are private papers and we shouldn’t be reading them. Not me, I think if Mom was going to go to all of the trouble to carry her diary from 1937 around with her all these years, she did so fully expecting her famously curious youngest daughter would read it. The same goes with her letters. She saved the letters my sister and I wrote to her when we were teens and for almost seventy years carried the letters my father wrote to her the summer before they were married.

Mother’s style of writing is very similar to both mine and my daughters, albeit with perfect grammar and spelling. I always thought it was only from my Mom and my Grandma that I found humour in subtlety. But I read a few of my Dad’s letters out loud to my brother yesterday. My sister would have none of it and left the room, muttering something about it being wrong, wrong wrong…. The letters, specifically the one which quotes his father, my grandfather was hilarious….

If it’s TMI, sorry.

Dad was writing often to Mom in the final days before the wedding. He was working in the Alberta oil fields in the final summer before finishing his engineering degree and he was growing quite homesick. He begins…..

Got a letter from the folks. Dad always said that when I started going steady with a woman to find out of she wore black panties. I told him you wouldn’t tell me so I asked him for more instructions.

My grandfather answered:

So you left a lofty clipper ship anchored in Vancouver eh? The only way to ascertain the colour of a ships keel below the water line is by sense of touch, which takes considerable amount of experience and patience. I think that you will find that the better class of clipper ship have a very fine and thin black finish below the water line. You will also find that the old battle wagons have a white and brown finish with considerable amount of barnacles at the water line.

I am almost sixty and thinking for the first time I would have liked to 

meet that Grandfather…

Author: Off Grid Islanders

We are a retired couple living on an off grid island on the West Coast

5 thoughts on “Meet that grandfather

  1. Love it!

  2. I may have enjoyed meeting the grandfather but not so much all the old ships he explored…not from the descriptions of some of them. Barnacles would rather put me off, I must say.

  3. Sounds like he was quite a character!

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