It was the best of times and it was the worst of times.It always feels that way at family gatherings. Particularly as now we only ever seem to gather at someone’s funeral. This time it’s for my Grandad. Jock.
Jock had three kids, two daughters and a son, my Dad, in the middle. They each had their own families and all lived in different cities. Each of them carried their own set of values and moral compasses along with very individual methods for coping with life’s ups and downs.
Grandad’s funeral was yesterday. A stranger spoke about his life based upon stories his two daughters told her. She couldn't pronounce Leven, where he was born, so she just said Scotland.I didn’t have a close relationship with my paternal grandparents, although Gran and I mended ours just before she died. So blessed. That doesn’t mean I don’t have fond memories.
I adored our trips to Tumblong to stay at the green house with the chicken coop. Grandad and Laddie would always be wandering around fixing something. The bakery truck would come right to the door to sell us fresh made pies for lunch. I can still recall the smell if I close my eyes. Gran would sing old Scottish songs to us, with us. Grandad would tell us tall tales about his glass eye and gold teeth that he was going to leave us when he died.His hair was always shiny with bryll cream and their toilet had WC written on the door. Their house was where I learnt what that stands for.
One phone call, after my Nan had died, my Gran and I talked about our difficult relationship. She summised that she felt it was because we were so similar, that we often butted heads. Gran then told me that she thought I was much braver than she was. I laughed at that suggestion. She was referring to the time I moved to Spain to live. I told her that she and Grandad were much braver than I. They had moved their young family to a country on the other side of the world, sight unseen, with very little money in their pocket. That was brave. And they built a life here, giving us the privilege of being born in such a lucky country.We are all proud of our Scottish heritage. And no matter what else, I’ll always be so proud and so grateful for two forty year old Scots, for taking such a risk and for being so hopeful about their future and the futures of their family.
Rest in Peace Gran and Grandad.
Vale Jock Fleming.