Had my grandpa been alive this year, he would have celebrated his 93rd birthday. A life that long, and for most parts, healthy, he must have had a heck of a story to tell.
Unfortunately, I never listened.
You never realise how much time you have with someone, until you don’t have any time. While my grandfather lived with us for some time, he was not the most communicative guy around. And by the time I was old enough to want to know what he did in his ‘good old days’, he wasn’t quite himself and could never recollect too much.
Some of the best stories and most intriguing facts about him, I learnt through my mum (His daughter). As a tribute to the grand man on his Birth anniversary, here’s a list of interesting (and random) facts – some of which even I didn’t know until an hour ago when I woke my mum up and pestered her to tell me 😉
1) He lost about 70% of his teeth by the time he was 75 (i guess) but no one knew about it until later Because he just never told anyone, or even let them see. I always just saw his bottom incisors and thought he had a perfect set of whites !
2) His first job was in Africa as an assistant to a Tailor. (Can’t imagine this man anywhere near a needle and thread!) After a long stint in the British railways he came back from Africa in 1968, and lived the most susegad retirement life I’ve ever seen.
3) He liked growing banana trees in his garden. Grew quite a few of them too! Incidentally, his favourite fruit was banana. Even during his last few days when he completely lost interest in food, he could never refuse a banana 🙂
4) He loved playing tambola/housie – Playing it at the local club was like a ritual.
5) His waist size in his 80s and 90s was 38 inches
6) He had two step sisters. He was a product of a second marriage.
7) He was named for St.Anthony, on whose feast day(today, 13th June) he was born.
8) His bride was from the same village as him, just a couple of lanes away, in fact. It was an arranged marraige they say. But I always thought that there was an interesting story there. Too bad there was no one to confirm.
9) During the last few years, papa could literally have an entire conversation with just 4-5 phrases. He really never spoke too much. In fact, when i badgered my mum about what was his favourite quote, or something that he used to say a lot, she told me it was, ” That’s to be seen”, one of the 5 phrases he would stick to 😛 there others were along the lines of ” Its ok”, “so so”, “Is it?”, “all’s well” and “Oh I see”.
10) He may or may not have changed the family surname along the way. Yup, quite an inventive fellow our papa was.
So Happy Birthday Papa. I’m sure you’re having a drink with god and driving the angles crazy with your incessant ‘ho ho’s and throat clearing today.
The reluctant writer.