Recently I had to, once again, return to my hometown. Again, for a funeral. My Pop, George, who had reached the ripe old age of 88 had passed away after a long period in hospital. He had battled with Alzheimer’s disease for a while and was steadily declining. It was a mercy for the poor old fellow to cross over.
Thinking back over the time I knew him, I realize that, to me, he was always an old man. Old in the way anyone over 30 is to you, when you’re a kid. Most of my memories of him centre around fishing, which is really not surprising. George loved his fishing!
During a lucid period, in the midst of his last days, my Dad asked him what the highlights of his life were. He thought over this awhile, then says, “The days when I used to go fishing with the boys, down at Blowering and Sioux City, those were good days.” “Anything else?” Dad asks. He turns his thoughts over again, then says, “Nah, that’s about it.”
My strongest memories of him were going out in the boat. You’d get out there and sit, for hours. You couldn’t move, or talk, as you’d “scare the fish.” There was nothing in the world that would make him head back to shore until after one o’clock. Once you were out there in that boat, that was it. Us Grandchildren soon learnt never to go out fishing with Pop, he took it very seriously and no doubt had a wonderful time. Not so much fun for a kid sitting in a boat for six hours!
Pop was also the Greens-keeper at his local Golf Club for many years. He always kept those greens in tip-top condition. When he retired he handed the job down to his oldest Grandchild. Golf is another sport that runs through our families blood, and I’ve no doubt that began with him. He also ran the family farm in his younger years, which is long before my memories start.
I also remember the red wireless. The old radio he would tune in every morning, without fail, to check the formations. Even if he wasn’t going out fishing, he liked to know what was happening out there.
Farewell Pop. I hope the fish are biting where you are now.