farm-y february

* kinda like a journal, no responsibility taken for grammar, punctuation, spelling mistakes… or the lack of upper case letters *

james robert carswell
james robert jennison jones julius caesar micheal murphy carswell
seriously, he told the nurse at the doctors office this…last week  * sigh *


a wee 82… beer in one hand… water pistol in the other… he’s not letting either out of sight

dad...what can i say about this man? on this, his 85th birthday 15 feb 1932? he is continually amazing, in every sense of the word… but don’t tell him i said so *wink*

everybody likes jim. primarily because he seemingly doesn’t have an opinion. he does, he just chooses his time and place when expressing those opinions

dad is consistently ready with a one liner – some more groan-worthy than others, but his playful spirit is never far from the surface. his mother rosina emmigrated from the ‘other london’ in 1918 after marrying his dad george who had bravely joined the first hussars regiment in the canadian army during the first world war …more on those two in a later post

as the only girl and the youngest – i’m very fortunate to have a little different relationship with our dad. there’s a closeness, a comfort… the trading of smarty-pants remarks… a friendship

it all started, so i’m told, when dad opened the paper one day and saw my smiling mug. mom and dad had been hoping to adopt a girl … after 4 boys, mom needed to shift the hormonal balance… and there i was… right place, right time

dad doesn’t get emotional too often… but catch him on the rare occasion that he’s got a couple of belts in him (pints, drambuie, baileys or wine) and start in with the questions… he’ll crack like an egg

he’s not afraid to share, he just grew up in a different time… but also, one of his comments i’ve always remembered is if you tell someone you love them all the time, it loses its meaning. as he’s gotten older, he’s softened a bit…but i find there’s usually a way to apply the bigger meaning to that statement, in most situations

the east end of london … adelaide + hamilton road … in the 30s was the united nations. every race, creed, colour and religion… gran rosie had a similar experience in england, so it was a natural fit. dad has told a few stories of that childhood, mentioned classmates and the trouble they’d gotten into … good clean fun …and as recently as a few years ago, he – and his remaining classmates – would meet every few weeks for coffee… i call ’em the east end old boys club… 

one of my favourites is when he and his buddies were running around the texaco station …i think on egerton st… shooting off roman candles at each other… wtf?

dad is always singing or whistling silly little songs. oh lord it’s hard to be humble is a perennial fave *sigh*. if you know the next line of that song, you’ll appreciate the innocent look on his face and trill falsetto when he sings it… oh my

recently, he told me of a skit in grade four where he and one of his pals dressed up and performed a bicycle built for two … complete with bike. i was waiting for the punchline… dad stated i was daisy (no big shocker). inevitably i asked, what did gran think about that? that’s pretty young to be cross-dressing! dad blithely responded who do you think tailored my dress and made my braids?  and there it is! of course she did

my gran was a seamstress and made all kinds of clothing for us… and in typical british style, you could have the most horrendous suit, but as long as it was tailored properly, you would look like a million

my favourite dad story is one of mine alone … in december 1982, mom dad and i were travelling to germany  to visit my brother rob and his wife chris, who were stationed in lahr with the canadian military. always the adventurers and efficiently packing in as much as we could… because we might never get this opportunity again… we boarded a plane one night, flew into gatwick, stayed in london for a few days before getting the train to dover and grabbing the ferry to calais, finally making it to paris a little while later. the next day, we started out to see the sights. mom had an art gallery on her list… it was in a friendly neighbourhood. the sidewalks were narrow, mom was in front, dad in back, me in the middle. as we were walking along, dad pulled me aside into the doorway he’d ducked into and said… tell your mother i got lost

i was 12. i still shake my head, get pre-teen blushes … and howl… when i think about it. not just at what he said, but somehow i knew then that this wasn’t a side that everyone got to see. not that young, anyway

can you handle one more? just the other day i asked him – hey dad, what are you doing today? i’m chasing your mother around the couch. ooooh. what are you going to do if you catch her? i don’t know, i’ll probably be tired out by then. well, you won’t be any good to anyone at that point, huh? nope, i’ll have a rest, and we’ll start it all over again!

i probably make a lot more sense, once one meets my dad.

we all have our own dad and grandpa stories. my niece amanda summed it up best... we’ll have oh grandpa on his stone… no wait… we’ll find a rock and write on it with a sharpie! 

this of course, was all said in a fit of the giggles … then we looked at each other thoughtfully and realized – he’d probably be ok with that

it’s incredible that his grandchildren have had the opportunity to experience that side of him for as long as they have and join in the friendship

i’ve been very lucky with ‘my choice’ of parents… they’ve seen me through many orthopaedic surgeries. mom may be a damn good nurse  but dad’s specialty is his laissez-faire attitude… full acceptance, full support, delivered with no judgement. mom probably worries more than dad. what i mean is, mom’s a troubleshooter… but she still jumps in … with unwavering support. dad has a just try it mentality… quickly followed up by a try it again when any of us happen to teeter… remarkable

they’ve seen me in pain, they’ve seen my frustration… they’ve seen my inner french girl (aka passionate), little kid, misdirected reactions to both… and i’m honoured to say, they dish out their own inner frenchies right back to me, it’s never meant or taken personally. they’ve supported me unconditionally and given me the space to play through the cards i’ve been dealt… but much more than that, they’ve taught me very valuable lessons in how and why to play through … and shown me the open door to be supergirl despite those cards… you wanna try it? just try it! who are we to say no!

we’ve had a few solid blows to the family… as every family does… but through it all, mom and dad have been there, but not in our back pockets… its a fine line between parent and stage parent. one that they’ve never crossed… they’ve given all of us the greatest gifts… trust, support, encouragement, taught us responsibilty, confidence to believe in ourselves and follow our own paths, they’ve respected our boundaries and choices…  they’ve given it all…and asked for nothing in return

as i’m reading this, i think … this was supposed to be about dad… and when i read the mom page, i think the same thing. both stories end up being about about two people who became a team and maintained their individuality … good lesson there, too

it sucks to watch them get older… they’re taking all the inevitable changes in stride… but it still sucks… because honestly? i can’t imagine a day when i can’t pick up the phone and give them a call

is that selfish? probably… but who wouldn’t be?


guess who had this nugget in his treasure box?