Books Magazine

A Special Authority Figure ...

By Ashleylister @ashleylister
If you're a regular reader of the blog, you will have probably noticed that my posts have been intermittent over the few months or so. Alongside some challenging themes, family reasons have been at the core of my lack of weekly posts. I haven't been in the right frame of mind. My Grandma passed in November and my Grandad has been very ill. Unfortunately, we lost him a week ago. As this weeks theme is "Authority", I thought it fitting to pen a few words about my paternal Gramps, as he was an authority figure in my life.
From humble beginnings as the son of a butcher and farmer, working in the family shop and on the farm, he joined the RAF during World War II. Even working as Ground Staff (due to color blindness and type 1 Diabetes) he worked his way up through the ranks and by the time he was de-mobbed he had reached Sergeant first class. He became an entrepreneur and had a property and shop portfolio. In between he built a 4 bedroom house for his family and a 60ft boat/yacht. He traveled the world, broke his back 3 times (twice abroad), but still he carried on. He achieved so much.
As a child, I didn't see that much of him really. But once his boat was finished, we saw more of him. By that time I was all grown up, but that came with an advantage. We got to know each other better. My Dad tells me that he wasn't really a "little kid" person, so that is the plus point I take from all of it. We would write to each other and he was quite surprised when he found out that I had an interest in writing poetry. It would seem that it's a family tradition! A fact I was unaware of until that time.
He's finally had to stop now. So, happy sailing Grandad, as you move on to smoother sea's!
Dear Grandad:

I really didn't know you 
as well as I ought.
Of a different generation
where affection wasn't sought
between Grandparents
and their Grandchildren,
the young were seen not heard,
only at Christmas or on Birthdays
came those caring words
of affection, of doting,
to show how much you cared.
For day to day your business
and projects could not be shared.
Always busy with something,
whether building or your shops,
we saw little of you
because you didn't stop.
You built a retail portfolio,
a four bedroom house, even a boat.
All 60 feet long and a marvel to see,
a real beauty once afloat.
It took so many years to complete
your sea-bound masterpiece
that I had reached my twenties,
no longer like the photos on your mantelpiece.
But slowly, as an adult,
we connected better.
Communicating comfortably
with each news-filled handwritten letter.
I even plucked up the courage 
to show you some of my poetry,
unaware it seems it's a tradition,
one that I'm more than happy
to continue throughout my life, 
even when discouragement threatened
because you'd corrected my grammar,
though I know you didn't intend
for that to be the case,
so I took it on the chin.
Wry smile playing about my face,
it was a new place to begin!
We'd see each other now and then
at family events,
you'd drive over to see me
and I came to your 90th.
I'm so pleased that I did Grandad,
because that day I finally saw
something that I hadn't seen
upon your face before.
You were PROUD of me!
And I can't express just how that made me feel,
except that finally perhaps
we'd turned full circle that emotional wheel.
But now you've gone from this earthly realm,
your spirit sailing and so henceforth,
we'll continue with your tradition
and always "Venture Fo(u)rth"!

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