- Family and Parenting
Old School Gets The Job Done | Our Ancestors Didn't Have Time To Pansy About
Look in the dictionary under "old school" and you will see a picture of my grandfather posing impatiently, probably because he was in the middle of something important until the annoying dweeb of a photographer interrupted him to take his picture.
Yep, my gramps was built as tough as they could be. He emigrated from Italy with my Grandma and my mom during the '50's due to unstable economic and political times. He came to Canada and did all the hard labor required to build our cities. These were back breaking jobs that he did to keep his family fed, and clothed. From working in construction to working in the mines, he was not afraid to give a good hard day of work.
Self Sufficiency Through Gardening Know-How
Even in his retirement he was the hardest working person I knew. He enjoyed his garden very much. He grew tomatoes and zucchini, beans and spinach. He enjoyed it so much that he expanded the garden into the neighbors yard (with their permission of course). The neighbors wanted a garden but they did not have the skill or know how. They did not have the time either as they were worker bees like the rest of us. So my gramps did the gardening in exchange for some of the crops. We NEVER bought vege!
Looking back at the way he spent his days he seemed to have a great life. He'd wake up at the crack of dawn, have his coffee and toast for breakfast and stare out the window at his garden planning his day of digging and weeding. He was not a man of many words but that was ok, because he was a simple man with no ill intent on anyone. At 8am he'd be out there tending to his gardens, keeping up the lawn(s), our neighbors were very appreciative. Lunch would roll around and he'd pour a glass of wine, which he also made himself, and he'd cut up an apple and soak it in the wine. It's good, you should try it. He'd let it soak while he ate the rest of his food and he'd have the apples as his dessert.
Old Schoolers Have A Higher Pain Threshold
One fine day in my grandpa's happy world, with the wine soaked apple wedges swimming happily in his steel lined gut, the regular garden chores taken care of, and lunch was out of the way; it was time to cut the grass.
We had a pretty modern mower for the time. There was a fantastic safety feature that was designed by those big brains over there at the lawn mower designing company. They included a lever on the handle of the machine which if not held against the handle by the user it would cut the engine... hmmm, oh yeah, they called it a 'safety' i believe. What an odd name for a lawnmower part! eh?! ha. Silly lawnmower designers.
So as my gramps was gearing up to mow his lawn, he wiped his brow with a rag, then with the same rag he pulled back the safety and tied the rag around it. That fixed that whole safety nonsense! All was going great, the sun was shining, the mower was mowing, and before you knew it the lawn was almost done. My Gramps was looking forward to hanging it up for the day. There was just a little patch of grass left, then we heard "Bang! screeeeech, rat-a-tat-a-tat-a-tat" he'd hit a rock. No worries, Gramps just reached his hand under that running lawnmower to remove the offending rock.
The rag now served as a bandage.
So this is how bad-ass my grandfather was... after running his lawnmower with the safety device compromised, and slicing off the skin on the top of one of his hands, what do you think he did next? Run crying to the emergency clinic with his tail between his legs like a little pansy boy?
No way! His grandson was watching!
He removed the rag from the safety handle and used it as a bandage so he could finish mowing his lawn, of course! With his one good hand holding on to that funny safety device thing so the engine wouldn't cut out, he continued on to finish cutting the grass. My Grandma was yelling at him sooo much. Oh dear, the words that came out of her mouth as Gramps finished the last of the lawn. Then, and only then, with much coaxing by my grandma, my aunt. and uncle did he go to the hospital. He'd have to clean the mower and put away all of his things when he got back.
Just as badass in the winter
One fine winter evening in the lovely winter wonderland we call Canada, there was a huge snowstorm. I honestly believe to this day that the city changed a bylaw for what my gramps did that day.
You see, it snows quite a bit here, sometimes two or three feet at a time. This was one of those storms. My gramps had his cool snowblower going and normally he'd make a little mountain at the edge of the street and then dump a little in the street itself so the pasing cars would flatten it out a bit. Well, the city doesn't like that, so they threatened my Gramps with a fine the next time he did it.
We lived on a boulevard, across the street from us there was an empty field with no sidewalks or anything. So what my gramps did was start snowblowing at the house, cleaned off all the snow into the street, and then he had to clear the street as to avoid getting a fine right? So he was being a good citizen and was clearing his mess off of the street and blowing it into the field across the street, when an 18 wheeler pulls up behind him! We never get trucks that big on our street but the day my gramps is in the middle of the street with a snowblower, there it is.
What to do, what to do? You do what my grandfather did. Look over your shoulder, look back ahead and wave the truck to pass you of course. Well he only had two or three passes left and he was done. The truck waited, we laughed. We being the kids, my poor grandmother was not so happy. She yelled at him as he ate his apple soaked in wine, and I have great stories to tell.