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Sunday, January 18, 2009

A trip down memory lane

This summer when I was visiting family 'down east' it was kinda emotional. After all the reason for the trip was pretty major, dad was having surgery - a kidney transplant. And then there was the fact that I was going to see relatives that I haven't seen in years, in fact some of them I'd never actually met.
For quite a few years I couldn't afford to travel, now that I can afford to its difficult to get the time. But isn't that how the world works?
Anyhow, on to this story... sis & I spent the first few days with Mom visiting her family before we moved on to staying with Dad and Sandra (his wife) and the big op. While we were there we took a day trip into Sussex to visit Grampie.
Grampie is in a nursing home and has Alzheimer's so I wasn't sure what to expect. (Grammie is no longer with us). I was extremely nervous and in a weird way I was shy, after all Grampie seems to remember me as his little girl and thinks I'm still in grade school.
The visit was good, we had stopped at the farmer's market and brought him some home-made strawberry ice cream as well as a couple new boxes of his favourite chocolate candy (I definitely know where I get my sweet tooth from!) He didn't talk very much but he was very much 'there'. When we left sis & her baby and Mom walked out ahead of me, as I walked past his bed he reached for my hand and looked right at me. As I held his hand I knew that he was looking *at me*. I'll admit it made me cry.
Auntie M made me cry again when we got back to her place too. She said that a few days before our visit she had gone to see him and told him we were coming. "Your wee Lisa is going to come see you Dad" she told him. He smiled and his eyes got teary. I always had been "Grampie's girl". (I'm so glad she didn't tell us that before we went.)
On our way to the nursing home we had stopped at Grampie's farm (Uncle D & Auntie S and their family live there now, although its no longer a working farm). We looked around the house, which is really very lovely, but for me the thing I HAD to see was this:

Grampie's barn
August 2008
This barn is always a strong part of my memories. I spent a lot of time with Grammie & Grampie until we moved here (Saskatchewan). I think a few of my most vivid memories are of me and Grampie and the barn...
Of going to the barn after the cattle were dehorned and being horrified at how sad I thought the cows were. I remember demanding that Grampie give them some grain because they were upset. (although I was at the barn a lot I was not allowed to be present during the dehorning).
I remember Grampie's big ol' bull. He had the cutest white curly forehead that he looooved to have scratched. If I remember right he was a big red and white guy and was very friendly. I was always closely supervised around him though because it would take just one swing of that head to knock my down. I can't remember his name but I remember scratching his head and watching him savour his happiness at the attention while Grampie & I talked to him.
** Mom or Auntie M - Do you remember that bull's name?**
But my favourite is this, I remember "helping" feed. I can very vividly remember being in the hayloft and looking down into the barn while bales were being thrown down. I didn't do any actual throwing, the last time I was in that barn I was 5 years old!
My job, and I took great pride in doing it well, was to sweep the stray hay out of the aisles into the feeder. I would push that broom, bigger than me, down the aisle making sure all the hay was in the feeders. It was very important to me that I made sure each cow got an even amount of this hay... except for mean cow. There was one cow that was always kinda skinny and mean. I just didn't like her and would give her less, then I would feel bad because she was skinny and I'd go and grab more from the others and give it to her and then run away because she scared me!

10 comments:

  1. Thanks for taking us for a trip down memory lane with you Cdn!

    I am sorry that your Grampie has Alzheimers. It is such a devastating disease, and I think that it is much harder on the family than it is on the patient.

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  2. Aww CDN- you had me teary eyed here with this trip. What an awesome barn though, and great memories of childhood!!! Thanks for sharing that with us all.

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  3. Ahhh, I remember my grandma's barn too. It stopped being a working barn way way before I was born, but the memories we had just being up at her farm were lovely and always bring a smile. I'm sorry about your grandpa's alzheimers. That is always hard. My grandma had it too and passed away a year ago this past december. It was very strange, but I think we all knew she would get alhziemers some day. She would always tell us the same stories over and over again, as far back as I could remember. We loved hearing the stories, but it was sad because we knew.

    If you have any more pictures and stories, we'd all love to see/hear them :)

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  4. Oh I am sorry you are having to go through that too.

    My Grandma has it - and its so hard because even though she still remembers us all - she forgets where she has parked - gets lost in Wal-mart, frequently throws away bills (when we can't snag them first) and has other trouble - of course she doesn't think she's sick so it makes it so hard for everyone to care for her. We know it's only going to get worse - such an evil disease, robs everything from the people it inflicts.

    I am very sorry.

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  5. Those are the memories you will always carry of your grampie Cdn, not the way he was in the end!!

    At least that is the way I remember my grandpa, who also had alzheimers. He was the most magnificent cowboy I have ever known and we buried him with his rope in his hand, the same way he lived.

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  6. Oh no. I'm so sorry Lisa, about your Grampie. That terrible Alzheimers taking your Grampie as prisoner. bah! I'm so sorry.

    But I so enjoyed reading your joyous memories from your time spent in that big 'ol beautiful barn. How lucky you are to have been able to spend those times together with your Grampie and Grammie on their farm.

    ((HUGS))
    Lisa

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  7. I love old barns, afterall I live in one for real! Hey, my friend you've been added to the Horse Lover's Power Guides a long time ago.....That means anyone who has the widgit at their sidebar can be alerted to your latest post. You can get the widgit yourself if you go to the bottom of mine and click the The horse lovers power guide link and follow the instructions, but we've had you added for sometime now. Hope ya don't mind! :)

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  8. What an emotional trip that must have been with kidney transplants and altzhiemers all rolled in together.

    Sounds like you have some wonderful memories of your childhood. That's pretty cool!

    I had to laugh at your kind treatment of the mean cow. You must have been a great kid.

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  9. Beautiful memories...thanks for sharing.

    That's a great old barn. It's still in real good shape too...looks like it'll be standing for a good long time.

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  10. You can remember all that and you were 5?!
    Does dehorning hurt the cows/bulls? :-o I wouldn't have wanted to be around that either.
    Sorry about your Grampie having Alzheimers:-( tht's very sad, but sounds like he def' remembered you!
    That barn looks like a lot of fun to have played around and in.

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