Scary stories from a lovely place
(This post is written by Stephen Reid).
My Grandfather died on Saturday night a week ago. He was 95 years old. I understand that he died peacefully in a hospital in Dungannon, Co. Tyrone, Ireland. I wish I had known him better. I wish I had spent more time with him when I could. When I look back on what I know of his life it is scant little. I know he was a beef farmer and was very resourceful. I know he was a Christian. I know that he was a good father and a good husband. I know he was in the Home Guard in WW2, but didn’t have to fight.
My strongest memory of my Grandad revolves around our mutual love of wood and making things. A trip to his place was never complete without 5-6 hours in the woodshed together chopping wood. When my Grandfather retired from being a farmer he moved to the city together with my Granny. There he started a small business, selling discarded wood as firelighters.
He would bring home wooden pallets from the fruit market and dismantle them. The long planks would be cut into 6 inch lengths and the spacer blocks could be used in the fire. My job was to chop the 6 inch long pieces of wood into thin firelighters and then we would pack them into bags for sale. I guess taking discarded things and making them useful is in my blood. Long hours of chopping would result in many blisters; but it was worth it.
My Grandfather was a man of few words but when he did talk he would tell me about funny people he knew or funny things that had happened. Most times he could hardly tell me what he wanted to because he was laughing so hard his eyes would tear up. I’m really glad for the time I did get to spend time with him and also that Kim could meet him.
Gentleness and a quiet manner are no longer really extolled as virtues. That’s a shame as they are virtues and how I saw them in my Grandfather will forever be my memory of him. A legacy is often thought of as great fortune or many children. I think my Grandfather’s will be those virtues mentioned which I see in my father, try emulate in myself and hope to pass on to my son.