A young man learns life's lessons from his GrandDad who compares them to his garden.
Based on a true story
by Douglas M. Bryce
“We called him GrandDad not because we wanted to, but because he wanted us to.”
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A young man learns the value of life experiences by spending time with his GrandDad. GrandDad teaches virtues such as patience, responsibility, respect, charity, and others, by relating his own experiences and by comparing them to activities that take place through the creation of the many gardens located on his farm.
His real name was Alec Duncan. In Scotland, Alec means "defender of freedom" and he absolutely was. We all called him GrandDad, not because we wanted to, but because he wanted us to. He said it sounded more "comfortable" than grandpa, pops, or any other shortcut to using a respectful, proper name for his status in life.
He loved life. He enjoyed being outdoors among his gardens, his woods, and his pond. He loved sharing them all with his Jewish wife of 56 years, Anne. In Hebrew, Anne means "favored one", and she absolutely was. We all called her Gram, because she preferred it to the older sounding grandma, or granny.
Together, they made a fantastic couple. On his 56th wedding anniversary, someone asked GrandDad, “To what do you attribute your long length of marriage?” He replied, “We were told that marriage was a 50-50 proposition. We decided to make it 100-100. We both give everything we can to the marriage, and support each other in every way possible. We enjoy each other’s company, applaud each other’s accomplishments, and overlook each other’s faults.”
My Gram was also very influential in my upbringing, and I enjoyed every minute we were together. GrandDad presented life’s lessons in more of a "manly" way. He was very direct, and usually included use of our hands, as well as our minds. I felt a firm bonding with him that just could not be shared with Gram. She and I had a different bond; one that was based on coloring, playing card games, cooking, and finding the good side in everybody, no matter who they were or what they did.
I spent many summers and weekends with them both. In the following pages, you will see how GrandDad found a way to teach me behavior patterns and character by comparing life’s phases to those of garden plants, forests, and ponds, among other things. I will do the same for my children and grandchildren when they arrive. GrandDad will be proud of me.
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