My grandfather was a strict man, unless it came to us kids. Because we could work him very easily. My brother had an easier time of it, but I had the cute going for me so there was that. Oh, and I was the youngest that was always around. My mom was a single mom so we grew up very close to my grandparents and in fact had rooms at their house. My grandpa was our father figure and did all those things that dads would do. Tied my skate laces (one of my favourite memories), taught me to ride a bike.

Besides my mom, my grandpa was probably my second hero. He was a farmer, a sailor, a husband, a friend, a father, a master carpenter, a custodian of a school and church, a grandfather and just an all over good person. I believe it was his strong faith that made him so good. While I don’t have that, I do respect those who do and feel humbled when they reach out to the community and to those who need help. He was always helping.

I never missed having a dad. My grandpa was there always. He taught me about the world. He taught me to use my hands with woodworking, glass and metal working, and I helped him in his garden (until he realized I was a natural disaster in gardens). He taught me to use my mind when we went on our weekly nature walks/hikes, and when I had questions about things he would explain it and then hand me a book. He tried to teach me to be humble by never bragging or talking about his achievements but by just living his life as simply and honestly as he could. He encouraged me to sing and dance no matter how bad I was, and even brought me to bagpipe lessons and bought me my first few saxophones. He was so outgoing and never was afraid to talk to others and learn their stories. He was always there when I was hurt or sick.

Growing up I was always closer to my grandma but I probably learned more from my grandpa. I truly did luck out with having such a strong father figure in my life.