Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Family

My grandparents are amazing! You couldn't have more different families than my father's and mother's parents.

My maternal grandmother, Céline, was a high school teacher that went to become, upon her retirement, the mayor of the town of Forestville, in Eastern Québec. Since then, she remained politically involved, being president of her regional SADC (Société d'Aide au Dévelopement de la Collectivité, or Collectivity Development Aid Society) as well as a member of various boards of directors within the North Shore (her home region, the Higher North Shore of the St.Lawrence River, that looks more like a sea than anything back there) health care system and the regional advisory committee for Canada Economic Development, a federal government agency. And when I say "region", it means an area bigger than England!

Until recently, she was regularly playing curling and badminton! Just thinking about all her achievements makes me want to kick my own ass for being such a procrastinator.

Then there's her husband, my grandfather, Guy. Upon retirement from being an executive for a paper company's logging operations, he took upon himself to learn everything about computers. He knows more than anyone in the family, keeps in constant contact with everyone over the web, with audio messenging services and webcams, gives technical advice to his grandkids about softwares and built several websites. There is two computers in their home, forcing me to watch what I write on my MSN Messenger, as there is usually at least on of them online. But they are so busy they aren't actually there most of the time!

An avid gardener during the summer, he spends most of the winter on the wonderful cross-country ski tracks surrounding his hometown.

They had 5 kids, four daughters and one son, raised in comfort, travelling a lot. Both are members of the Federal and Provincial Liberal Parties and are federalists to the core. I had a few heated ideology arguments with them back when I was a teen, but I was quite stupid.



Céline and Guy back then...



...and now (well, about 5 years ago, my most recent pic hadn't many people smiling...), with my brother and I.

And now, my paternal grandparents: A force of nature at 81, grandma Diana, is still volunteering in her community, the beautiful town of Bonaventure, in the Gaspé peninsula (An incredible place where you can fish salmon in great rivers, run in the farm fields, hike in the mountains, take a walk in the woods or swim in the sea within a few kilometers!). She even helps people younger than her at the old age club! She learned how to drive a car in her sixties, and then drove all the way to Montréal(an 11 hours ride)! A strong character, most of her sons, daughters and grandchildren probably inherited their tempers from her. She's been slowed down recently by an ankle injury and I wish her all the best in getting better!

And finally, Gérard, my father's father, also as strong as a rock. I remember when I was a kid, he'd show us his huge biceps (I called them apples), quite surprising for a man who was in his seventies back then. An old lumberjack (funny how both my grandfathers' jobs involved cutting down trees and I'm replanting those...) and farmer, my dad even bought some woodland for his use 15 years ago. I also remember the little house he built for me and my cousins when we were young, with everything to our scale!

Now, he's 90 years old, suffering from a degenarative muscle disease. He should be in his weelchair, but he actually pushes it around, asking anybody if they want a lift, as he's constantly rebuilding his muscle mass by exercising. Possessing incredible insight, he highly impressed my brother a few years ago by the way he correctly gauged him. The same night, at my cousin's wedding, my dad had to take care of his drunken son(not me, I was up north planting trees)...and dad! Apparently not an angel back in his youth, he's now the most serene person I know and he loves to tease his grandchildren. My dad stopped saying it was his father's last Christmas about ten years ago, as he started to sound ridiculous.

They had 11 children, nine sons, two daughters. They had good and bad years, living on farms. Every winter, Grandpa would go away to lumber camps, the sons easily getting into trouble as they were getting older. A sovereignist family, even my Newfoundlander aunt became in favour of Québec's independance, despite years living out west in Québec-hating Alberta (well, not necessarily hating, but at least heavy disliking).



My grandma Diana(right)...



...and grandpa Gérard.

I love my grandparents. Despite not seeing them often, as they live pretty far away, I'm glad and lucky that they are still around. I wish a very long life to every one of them.

Time to go start doing something...

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1 Comments:

At 12:20 PM, Anonymous Charlotte rants...

that's so wonderful that your grandparents vitality makes you want to get out and do something. They have everything going for them and will probably live to be very old (the oldest people living didn't retire until they were in their late eighties and nineties, or haven't sill!) which is lucky for their smart grandson!

 

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