The man behind the motto…Part 2
As I sat down to interview, well okay maybe not interview as much as ask the man behind the motto my Opa (grandpa) some important life questions. I pitched this blog idea to him awhile back and he agreed. I figured he’s the wisest senior I know and why not share his knowledge with all of you. I had an idea of what I wanted to ask him and write about. I had to go out to the farm to chat because he doesn’t use technology and he only spends a few minutes on the phone. If you wanna talk to the senior you meet him in his office.
The office is 2 big desks pushed together. On granny’s side of the office it’s covered in all things horses and her laptop is on her desk. On Opa’s side of the office he has family pictures all around. He doesn’t use technology so his desk is covered with his daily reflection books. I wish he would type them out on the laptop so I could read his thoughts. His mind is always going.
Before I could ask my first question Opa started telling me about his earlier life. He painted a much different world that the one we live in today. It’s a world I cannot picture. I got so lost in his story I forgot all the questions I wanted to ask. I would love to write about his journey through the war as a child and how he came to Canada but when I started typing it all out it quickly neared 10 pages. He has had a life. I think parts could be broken down into future blogs.
He talked so highly of his family throughout his life. It was bringing a tear to my eye. This is not to say he hasn’t had his struggles with family but who hasn’t.
I asked “what does family mean to you?” Opa quickly replied “everything to me, family is number one.” He always says “like you family is everything” and I have to laugh. It is everything to me because he passed this down to me. I spent most of my childhood learning from Opa. He is the glue that holds everyone together.
I asked “What was your first car?” He smiles. I think he knows I have always wanted this car. “My first car was a 1954 VW beetle. Red.”
I asked “What is your dream car?” He looked at me puzzled. “I don’t really care what I drive.” This is true. Most of my life he’s had a barely running truck. I guess I didn’t inherit my love of cars from him, ha. If only had held onto that beetle I could be cruising in style. Maybe not with heat though. He said “the damn heater never worked.”
“What is your biggest accomplishment?” “That I am still alive. I am lucky.” He is not wrong. He’s survived some pretty serious health conditions. He really does have nine lives. This answer warmed my heart. It is a huge accomplishment to make it to your 80’s. I had no idea what he would say to this question. I thought it might be a building answer or something about family. But I guess none of this could have been accomplished if it weren’t for him being alive.
“What’s one thing you wished you would have told your younger self?” Learn a trade which is needed. He has always said this will take you far in life. He is always telling his grandkids and great grandkids this.
Since he is the man behind my life’s motto I had to know “what does the motto mean to you?” Do your best and if your best isn’t good enough fuck it. His answer was perfect: “It means what it really is. When you try so hard like I do with my family, well, when it doesn’t always work out I know I did my best. I’m not going to not talk to them. Do your best and more than that you can’t do.” That folks is what it’s all about. He feels in his heart he has done his best. He almost never gives up. He just keeps going at a problem from different angles.
I struggle with sleep and so does Opa so I asked “What keeps you up at night?” “You name it he says.” Opa’s mind is always going he is always thinking about something or someone. I know I have kept him up at night before but now he would say “you’re doing alright”. Sorry for the sleepless nights. Thanks for never giving up on me!
Opa has been going to Alcoholics Anonymous for 32 years. His commitment to the program is life long. He has a huge community of people from the program. He often quotes and shares stories from AA. I have always wanted to know “What is the biggest lesson you learned from AA?” He immediately feels the hit of this question and says “Woah, the program taught me how to be a human being. Don’t lie. Don’t expect too much. Don’t give too much. Be nicer to people. When you make a deal, make sure it’s 50/50, it’s not always about you.” He wonders if being an alcoholic inheritor. He ponders some theories which kinda scare me because alcoholism runs on both sides of my family. He says “there no two ways about, it I think differently.” This answer made me smile. These are all the things I love about my Opa. I couldn’t be prouder of the man he is.
Opa and granny have been together a long time I asked “how long they had been together and what do you think is the best piece of relationship advice?” I hope one day to find a love like they share. He says “Oh granny and I have been together what 12? 13 years?” I laugh because I know it has been much longer. He shouts for granny to come to the office she quickly lays down the law it’s been 31 years. Opa pretends to be shocked and laughs “what? Really that’s way too long.” He answers what the best piece of advice is, he says, “her thinking is so different than mine. What I like so much about her is she gives facts and not dreams. Together we decide on the right thing. We compromise and come to an agreement. He says it a nice way to live.” Okay before you think that’s all sunshine and rainbows, let me tell you it’s not. They live on a farm where things can always go wrong I have seen the yelling and screaming and occasional thing throw but no one gets hurt and its always worked out. It’s been 31 years and they are an inspiration.
Granny went on to give me her life advice don’t worry I took notes and I plan to share it in a future blog.
We wrapped up our office chat, questions and shared a coffee break. I am so lucky to have such wonderful grandparents. I talk to them every day and I cherish all our memories. The life lessons these two have taught me I know will carry me far in life.
Thank you seniors for your daily phone calls and doses of wisdom!