Tuesday, December 8

Leslie V: November 15, 1928 - December 1, 2009

My grandfather was the type of person who always gave of himself and never mentioned it to anyone. He raised 6 children with my grandmother in what must have been a very busy and very crowded house. They were go-with-the flow-type of people: they let their children bring home stray animals, let turtles live in the bathtub (the only bathtub for 8 people, I still haven't figured that one out), let hitchhikers tent on their lawn and draft-dodgers live at their camp when they needed a place to stay.

He lived his whole life in the North where he became a skilled fisherman and hunter. He and my father once took me fishing and we landed a good-sized pike. When we got to the shore and the fish was still suffering in the bottom of the boat he handed me his wooden club and told me to give it a good whack on the head. At the time I was mortified but I realized that the fish was going to die anyway, he just didn't want it to suffer. Grandpa Les was also a fantastic gardener. Just this summer I started the first garden of my very own and he always had great advice for me. (He told me to tie the leaves of my cauliflower plants around the head so that they would stay white; now you know too!). That was another great thing about him: he didn't hoard his talents or knowledge but shared it with his children and grandchildren. At work he was recognized as an expert at splicing rope and cable in the mines and his hard work kept the other miners safe.

One of the greatest things I will remember about grandpa is the way that he loved his wife and how he cared for her for the 12 years that she was sick. As my grandmother slowly lost the use of her body he worked tirelessly to ensure that she retained a high quality of life. They would do exercises together everyday to keep up her strength. The family got a special chair so that she could go outside where they both loved to be.

This past Saturday I had the honour of helping to carry the casket of this truly good man.

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