I treasure this photo of my grandfather taken by my father many years ago. I found it while looking through a box of my father’s old slides—slides that have not seen the light of day for over 30 years.
There are many reasons why I love this photo. First, simply because it is of my grandfather. In his heyday, he was the type you would see in the movies—a sophisticated businessman in a suit and a wool fedora, very classy. Of course, I only know this side of him through photographs and stories. My own memories of him are those of a man who was always busy. Busy cutting grass, raking leaves, and planting flower boxes. Busy fixing the docks at my grandparents’ summer cottage. Busy grilling steaks and making rum collins. He made the best drinks—whether cocktails for the adults, frappes for the kids, or coffee milk for both.
My grandfather, or Papa as he was known to us, was a very sweet person who adored my grandmother. He loved to tell jokes and stories, but was also a stern man who had certain rules us grandchildren followed. Sit up straight and elbows off the table (a knuckle down your back if you slouched). Finish all your dinner, or no dessert.
Papa had a very strong work ethic. Everyone had to pitch in. After big family dinners, all the grandchildren were expected to clear the plates from the table, wash dishes, dry them, and put them away. He liked to call it “Game Time” and we were all players. From a kid’s perspective, it was boring because we would rather be having fun. Looking back, it’s one of my fondest memories.
OK, back to the photo. It was taken at the summer cottage in Halifax, which is one of my favorite places to be. My grandfather is reading the paper and having a cocktail in the summer afternoon. Glass case in pocket, linen fedora in place. It’s utterly quintessential.
It’s begging to be painted and I am going to try my best to do so.