a Christmas Wish
Posted in the Ottawa Forum
North York, Canada
#1 Dec 16, 2012
The fond memories that come flowing back to each of us around Christmas is one of my favorite things about the season, for example,The smell of my grandfathers basement. It was my favorite place in the world! That mixed smell of saw dust, tools and car parts and musty old books and treasures from all over the world and all walks of life. Yeah, you could defiantly say my grandfather was a Mans Man,6,2 240+ pounds and made out of solid brick! a former WWII hero wounded on D-day, an engineer and jack of all trades. I dont ever remember him once being in a good mood or smiling?! But he was awesome, he kept that huge one room basement to a 2br bungalow packed with treasure an eight year old boy could get lost in for life. And once, on that fateful day while we were on a usual second Sunday visit and I was as usual buried in some epic adventure in the basement, grandpa came down and said well, if youre going to make a mess down here anyway you might as well work on this! as he motioned with his finger for me to follow him. I was scared out of my wits! Grandpa was talking to me! And mom wasnt around to put her hand on my head as she always did when grandpa was speaking to us. I followed quietly, sheepishly through the shelves of books and maps and past the wood working section where there were my handprints in the sawdust all over the machines in the shop that grandpa chose to acknowledge with only a quick glance over his huge shoulder and a disapproving grunt while we continued to the back corner of the basement. By the furnace and water heater, there was a large table with a tarp over it that I couldnt believe I never noticed before now. Im sure just for the dramatic affect, Grandpa Swiched on the light and pulled the tarp off simultaneously and there, before my eyes, was the entire French coast line in HO scale. Trains! Tanks! Cannons! Men! Beaches! Ships! Bunkers! Houses, it was the coolest thing I had ever seen in my life! I couldnt speak, I just stood there frozen Well I think youre old enough to help me with this, I know you can make a mess, think you can make a tree? Grandpa asked while trying to hold back a laugh behind his stone face. And for the next four years ( until I lost him when I was twelve ) we spent every second Sunday working on that train set. Through that train set Grandpa taught me electronics, structural engineering, wood working and a lot about the war how things were and politics as well as how to be and act like a man. I am proud to say theres a lot of that old man in me and though Hell never know what he meant to me, I still strive to be like him .. Right down to the Grumpy gruff exterior.
And now Im the grandpa Pops, Please, Im too young for grandpa! and coincidently I and my lady now live in a two bedroom bungalow with a huge one room basement but unfortunately because we are both disabled our basement is not full of wonder just old Christmas decorations, spiders and bath chairs. I would love to build a train set down there for our two grandkids the boys would love that and so would I. But us both being on disability we cant afford anything like that and I have no way of getting the plywood needed for such a project.
But here is my Christmas wish, if my story has amused or entertained you in any way and you might have an extra sheet of plywood or two that you could drop off or a box of old trains in the attic or garage that youre no longer attached to, bring them by for my grandkids will you? It wont be forgotten and maybe someday part of another lifes memory. And if not, please pass on this story.
Have a Merry Christmas
Don J. Welbourne
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