Here is my grandfather wearing his recital robe seated at his desk in his study in the lower house at "Abbey Dawn".

From the day he left the business-world and became fully focused on being a poet writer and bird protector, he vowed to never-again wear a tie; the trillium collar was one of his trademarks and was his formal wear. My grandmother made and hand-sewed each one of the collars on his shirts. There is a funny story which I will later share about Gramp refusing to wear a tie, but for now I am staying to this story.

Do you remember the movie "Miracle on 34th Street"? Well, you see for years Gramp used a walking stick. He didn’t have to, it was for show. It was not a cane per se, but instead was a well-worn-smooth straight walking stick with a metal wrapped foot, and today it is leaning up in the corner of my vestibule. Every year, around this time, I look down and see it there, smile and remember.

Gramp used to use that walking stick to get visitors, at the museum up in the ridge, to focus. When he noticed that for what ever reason visitors were not fully attentive or if the children were becoming cranky or such, he would slowly walk to the door way of the building, stand in the center and while he was still talking, the walking stick would start to swing, wider and higher, widerer and higher.

For some, it took longer than others, to notice what was happening- Gramp and that swinging walking stick. Then all of a sudden, he would slightly toss it up in the air and catch it on his chin. Moving back and forth keeping it in balance he would by now have most but not all peoples attention. Then, the walking stick, would seemingly all by itself, jump to his tongue as he was still balancing it, and then back to his chin. This dance would happend several times and now everyone in the crowd was mesmerized.

Watching him intently the crown was usually hushed, but broke out into clapping and Bravos’ when the walking stick seemingly leapt down into his hand once again as he continued talking; he then would gently bow to his audience with his pious smile and that devilish twinkle in his eye he had, and would proceed to direct them inside the museum.

He was a great showman and grandfather, and a man of the people. He loved his birds, Native Indian history, integrity, was moved to write, and, he was emotional, which in his own words was out of character for his Anglo-Saxon background.

With his white whiskers, goatee, long white hair, trillium collar, passionate personality and ice-blue eyes,  he was a compelling character. His command of oration was nothing short of gripping, his gestures drawing and entertaining, and his passion unmistakable! He truely savoured life.

The living at Abbey Dawn was not high-style to say the least, he left that lifestyle behind when he left Montreal and the business, to persue his writing and passions.

He was a controversial person many times; other than the Shriner's, he purposefully gave-up all affiliations (excepting family), leaving him beholdin’ to no-one or group. He was defiantly a free agent onto himself.

Over the years he would publicly take to task Government, organizations groups and/or individuals when he deemed it needed to be done. He was well known in the region (and in the Kingston Whig Standard) to be an avid unrelenting defender and one who would bring to task (and publically if need be) others who no-one else would dare to.

So, like Kris Kringle in the movie "Miracle on 34th Street", Gramp stood his ground, held his stance, won … and left his walking stick behind as a reminder …

And oh ... how that old walking stick is treasured!

This post has been submitted to "Show and Tell" hosted by Cindy at My Romantic Home


Susan said...

What a captivating lovely "tell". Seems he left you not only the walking stick but you've got your gramps ability to write!!!

Hootin' Anni said...

I can so understand how you treasure it all....I would too.

My Show n Tell is a gift to me from years ago...ANGELS WE HAVE HEARD ON HIGH

Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

I love this story about your grandfather!

Jeanne said...

Great memories Lynda! Lovely story and a wonderful photograph!

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