Of course this blog is about me, John Boyd, AKA the Fat Savage or Poppa John depending on your point of view. (Facebook Page)
In October 2009, my wife of 43 years Dolores died and I’ve had to reinvent myself. I have become less passionate about issues which are unimportant and more passionate in continuing the adventurous path my wife developed for our family. The previous adventures are all covered in her Eulogy and I hope to get around to posting it (Done). A separate blog is used to document our ongoing family adventures.
In another sense, these blogs are about a whole generation. I was born in 1945, the avaunt guard of the Baby Boom Generation which I missed by about a year. Everybody who follows me will have issues to resolve related to relationships with the living as they transition to old age and taking care of themselves as they learn to live alone or choose to make new friends. Longevity is now being studied in a systematic way and more than anything, it’s a combination of close family relationships, exercise and a healthy diet – Thank God Drinking is positive and I’ve been blessed with a loving family and predisposed to doing manual labor at work and around the house. Increasing exercise and eating better are the easiest to correct.
Adventures are an important part of our family. Without judgment, I remember my grandfather and the adult men of the clan ritualistically leaving the family gatherings to the woman and children and like real men going down the road to drink. My father was only slightly better lounging on the couch like Jabba the Hut with princess Lea forced to sit at his feet in adulation or in my father’s case, it was anybody addicted to television as he held the controls.
Both my brother and I shared our lives and yielded to strong women and so our gatherings are weird. Like Walter Mitty we create adventures which involve physical activities and involve every kid from 18 months to 18 years. Hell, I am not going to suggest that either one of us is perfect but my children and his children know both of us better than we ever knew our parents and the grandchildren also are more comfortable with us and our adventures.
Cooking is also one of those great shared family adventures where the output is not as important as the process even though everyone was and is a great cook. We laugh about our food likes and dislikes and our special weirdnesses if that’s a word. “He don’t like cheese, she always cooks for 3 times as many, he always grills etc, but who cares as long as we have time to take kids on walks, jump in the hot tub and go on adventures or if its raining get a family workout on a Wii while the food is cooking. Of course everyone takes part in all the cooking.
When Dolores died, 7-year-old Ana and 10-year-old Cayla went to the viewing and the service. Cousin Cait (21) was in charge of inappropriate giggling and I was the one who warned the congregation that it was her job to make the girls giggle and celebrate the life of Grammy. After the service we had a beach party and the next day was the burial at sea which Cayla chose to go to and Ana did not. The burial was rough on everyone but the resilient family bounced back and those who chose, went out to sea the next day and snorkeled and watched the beautiful fish that Grammy would view for eternity.
Four days after the burial, we decided on cooking soup as a way to finish off the turkey. Naturally the girls helped by cutting the onions and celery and helping to make the dumplings which both love to eat. Ana, the little one is the instigator in making the process a mess and starting the giggling.
Cayla was reluctant to join the fun but finally asked if it was OK to be happy and sad at the same time. The only answer I could think of was, “In our family, it was just fine.”
Of course, I had to jump in to clean up the girls and finish off the dumplings which turned out quite good as did the soup. I was not near as sad or grumpy as I look in the picture, I was just playing man and holding back the tears.
At the end of the family gathering someone said that this was a fantastic family gathering and too bad Dolores missed it. My response was simple, “I don’t think she missed it I think she was their with us for every moment and loved it all.””