By Charlene Daley
He stood almost six feet tall and weighed well over 200 pounds. He had a ruddy complexion and
kind eyes. I could confide in my father about anything. When I was little and there were forest fires he would kneel with me as I prayed asking our heavenly Father for rain for respite from this hot, scary and debilitating situation. At night from our porch door we could see the horrific glow of these fires. There were times I would sit on his lap for no other reason than just affection.
If he had about three days beard he would brush my hair with the bristles. He read to me, told me stories, made me feel so loved, protected and important. He built me a small lean-to playhouse on the back of his grocery store where I whiled away many pretending hours. When I was older he built me a much larger place of escape.
On school mornings Daddy was the one to wake me and get me out of bed. He’d come to my bedside and gently wake me. When I was ready to get up he carried me to the bathroom door. While I did my morning duties in there he sat on the top stair step and waited patiently. Until I was 11, he carried me down stairs every morning ducking so not to hit my head when we passed the upper floor. On winter mornings after carrying me downstairs he sat me in a huge chair by the furnace register and left me to get dressed while he prepared breakfast. My father could make deer steak smothered in onions taste so good on a cold morning.
A pot of hot perked coffee was something very special between my father and me.
Daddy was a fisherman and when he went fishing on cool fall mornings. After I was older I would prepare his breakfast while he was fishing the herring nets. Mum enjoyed sleeping in and she did not enjoy coffee. So on those mornings a pot of hot, perked coffee was something very special between my father and I.
He was not just a great dad he was a terrific grandfather to my children. He always had a treat in his pocket for each of the five. When he dropped in if the baby was in the crib he picked them up placing his cap on their head, held them on his lap and lovingly played with them. They also realized when Grampie left it was back to the crib. All was ok as long as he did the deed. He often took time to get down on his hands and knees to give each one a piggy back ride. This special time they relished with delightful giggles of glee. My father never played favourites. Each one got equal attention in whatever form they were interested. He brought nails and scraps of lumber for Dean even when he was very little.
There was an indentation in the ground right in front of our back step where rain water formed a puddle. One day Grampie brought a bucket of gravel to fill this hole. He told the children he brought those stone for them to play with. Everything he said and did made my five young children feel very important.
Daddy left this earthly life many years ago long before his time should have have been up. My children were young and some just barely recall this wonderful man. We talk about him often and they do realize just what they have missed by this kind and gentle man being called away so young. His example of a grandfather, even after forty years, has influenced the kind of grandmother I strive to be. I truly hope I leave beautiful, lasting memories such as he has.
Charlene Daley has been a writer/photographer for years. Her writing and photos have been published in magazines all across Canada and in the United States. She worked, at one time, for a weekly newspaper and wrote copy for a local radio station for several years.