Thursday, 22 September 2011
Gah! Writer's block!
Oooohh, Parks & Rec is over, block gone.
So I am talking to my colleague yesterday, and she is telling me about winterizing the family cabin up in the Ottawa Valley (I know, with a start like that, you are hooked already!).
So my mother grew up in a town called Pembroke, in the Ottawa Valley. Her mom, my grandmother or "nonnie" (Gaelic? I dunno, maybe, we just went with it), came to Canada as a young lass. I gather my great grandmother was a bit on the stern and "proper" side, and passed it down to her daughter. In turn, while I would not describe my own mom (my son's nonnie!) as stern, she had what I would describe as a "healthy respect for proper manners". As well, although I think her left-leaning adult self tried to leave it behind to some extent, she also had a certain deferral to the "prim and proper".
My mom's cousin is an author and wrote a book about his father, the brother of my grandfather. The book goes on for a chapter or so talking about my own granddad. My grandfather was a soldier in WWI (Black Watch!) and WWII and was the magistrate for Killaloe county back in the day. As a magistrate, he even had a famous line. In response to a fancy-pants Toronto lawyer (hate those guys!) that was arguing in front of him's assertion that my grandfather's interpretation of the law was incorrect, my grandpappy countered "that may be the law in Toronto, but it ain't the law in Killaloe!" Badass. (If ole' Hossy ever gets appointed to the Tax Court, look out, it's in the blood!)
The book, amidst these facts, also discusses how (news to me!) my grandfather was, as I gather, a bit of a drinker. By which I mean he was a huge drinker. No skin off my nose. Oh, he was of Scottish heritage and he liked to drink? Stop the presses! But my mom was quite upset about it, concerned that it was besmirching his memory in his grandkids eye's.
Back to the present!
So I says to my colleague, "whereabouts is your cabin? Because my mom grew up in Pembroke." And she says, "oh? What was your mom's name?"
And I says my mom's first name and married name was this, but my mom's maiden name was so and so. And she says, "really, you aren't related to Mary so and so.......?
Okay, if it's all right with you, internet, for this part of the story, I am going to differentiate between inner and outer dialogue.
Me: Outer/Inner "That's my grandmother!"
Colleague "Oh, wow, my grandfather was your grandmother's boyfriend in the nursing home!"
Me: Outer: "oh, right" Inner: "whuuuuuuutttt?"
Colleague: "yes, for a long time, I used to visit them both at the home all the time!"
Me: Outer: "That's so cool!" Inner: "whuuuuuutttt?"
Colleague: "yeah, he used to drive and they used to go to this rough bar that has since burned down where people square-danced and stuff."
Me: Outer "of course!" Inner: "whuuuuuttttt?
Colleague: "And they sure did enjoy drinking that gin!"
Me: Outer: "yeah" Inner: "whuuu......well, that probably makes sense, she was Scottish, after all."
I. Had. No. Idea. I don't think anyways. Did my mom know about my grandma's "friend"? Total puzzler. Too late to ask her! Hossy's going to have to talk to his cousins about this and see if they knew about it.
Because I, for one, am scandalized!
I spoke to my cousin. She took a while to get back to me because she lives in South Africa now and was off touring Botswana and Namibia. Luckily for me my run through the zoo lets me know exactly what that's like, so we could compare notes.
Well, she was all over the fact that my grandpa was a boozer. Old news. But the nursing home hijinx? No idea. So she asked her dad, my uncle. Not just didn't know. Refused. To. Believe. It.
I considered the fact that maybe it was another Mary MacGregor. But Pembroke is just not that big.
Curiouser and curiouser......