February 19, 2009

My Pop.

No matter how serious the situation, my Pop always had a witty remark that could raise everyone's spirits.  If ever there was a role model for demonstrating the value of good humour during trying times, it was my Pop.  

Today is one of those trying times where we could use his wit. My Mum just phoned to tell me that her father, my Pop,  passed away.

Everyone loved my Pop. He could make an entire room burst out in laughter with just a single, faintly spoken, witty remark.

When I got married, everyone had a little bit of marriage advice for me, but the best advice came from my Pop. He told me that the secret to a long and happy marriage would be to look long and lovingly into my wife's eyes every night before going to bed, and say...

"...I'm very, very sorry."

My Pop was a handy guy: a gardener, painter, and craftsman. He was also a great singer. There was this song that he used to sing on road trips that we all loved.  I don't even know the name of the song.

I should have asked him for the lyrics.

He loved crossword puzzles and he loved my Granny. He would say that her teeth were like the stars - because they both come out at night.

As my Granny's cancer made her progressively more ill, my Pop never wavered in his devotion to her, even though it took a toll on his own health.  He was an inspiration and gave me strength in our own struggles with Jade's epilepsy.

I called him last week. He sounded tired, but he was getting by. It was the longest phone conversation we'd ever had.

I'm glad we had the chance to talk one last time.

I'm really going to miss him and his quick wit.


Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to hear of your Pop's passing Michael. My own Grandfather looms so large in my life, that it is hard to believe sometimes that he passed away almost forty years ago. If it is any comfort I still carry my granfather around with me in my heart after all that time has passed, as I'm sure you will with your Pop.

Matt, Kara, Hunter and Cavan said...

Sorry to hear about your loss! Glad you have such great memories of him.

Anonymous said...

Beautifully written Michael, and so true. Your Pop definitely had a way with words. I'm so happy I had the chance to get to know him a little bit.
I'm so sorry for your loss.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Michael. I can honestly say that I couldn't have had a better any way. He was a true gentle-man. They just don't make too many like him.
I'll miss him.
Love to all of you.

Anonymous said...

Very sorry to hear of your loss, Michael.

Every Photo Tells A Story said...

Oh, Michael, I'm so sorry about your Pop! He sounds like such a special man. And, it seems to me that many of his traits have been passed down to you.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to hear of your loss. I send my condolences to you and your family.

- Kat

Kennie said...

Michael- I'm sorry to hear of your loss. Sympathies to you and your family.

Janet said...

I'm so sorry Michael.

Anonymous said...

I am very sorry to hear it. He and Granny are the most special couple I ever met. I often think about them how they care for each other and for other people. I'll miss him. please pass my condolences to your loving family, especially to Granny and your mom. Love you all and take care.

Jennybell said...

I lost my Grandpa last August, he was my last Grandparent. My Grandma also died of cancer and he was totally devoted to her. Of course for that generation that's just what you did.
I try to see things I'm happy he's not here for, in a funny way. Like the fact they built America's largest indoor waterpark at the end of his country road. He'd have cussed that place ever time he drove by on the tractor! At the funeral Isaiah said "Well, he should be happy now, he's with his wife".
Sorry for your loss, maybe he's in heaven getting people to go online and rate your Best Job in the World video!!!

Meandering Michael said...

Thanks, everyone. As my Pop would say, "I'm doing as well as can be expected under the circumstances."

Speaka said...

My condolences for your loss.

Anonymous said...

I remember the beginning of Pop's song:
When the White Guard invaded and the Dawn (?) Pass was raided in those grim, unforgetable years
Oy, oy
I'll never forget the first time he sang it to sang the Oy oy about three beats after him and he was thrilled. He sang it to all three of you and you all loved it. I think there was always a kind of understanding that it was Pop's song so we never wrote the words down and only remembered our part...the Oy oys!
Oh I go again (sob!)
Love, Mom

Anonymous said...

HI Michael. I was Joyce and Arthur's across the street neighbour on Mineola Rd. (their first house!) for a few years. I spent many a fine occasion around their table laughing, joking and eating, or having a joke played on me. Arthur was a gem, and I loved every moment I spent with them, and they were so happy when you guys came to visit - I think I actually gave up my house to them for guests! Arthur could talk me into doing that. We will all miss him but what wonderful memories we share.

Unknown said...

In response to Anonymous's contribution, here is the first verse of "Red Cavalry" It 's from Popular Soviet Songs published in England in 1941. If you're interested I can send the rest of the words and the music (there's a good tune)

When the White Guards invaded
and the Donbas was raided
In those grim unforgettable years

Swift our columns assembled
How the earth heaved and trembled
As we galloped with song and with cheers (Repeat)

Unknown said...

Oh my goodness!!!! YES!!! PLEASE!!!!!!!!

Unknown said...

Hi and sorry for the delay in getting back to you

Here are the complete words:

Red Cavalry

Words by A. Surkov translated Ben Blake
Music by Daniel and Dimitri Pokrass

When the White Guards invaded
and the Donbas was raided
In those grim unforgettable years

Swift our columns assembled
How the earth heaved and trembled
As we galloped with song and with cheers (Repeat)

With Budyonny to lead us
For the cause that had freed us
We swept forward by night and by day

Soon our fame rode before us
Like a thundering chorus
As the army that never gave way (Repeat)

If to our peaceful borders
War again brings marauders
If the shrapnel once more scatters wide

With Voroshilov and Budyonny
As of old, once again we
The Red Cavalry Army will ride (Repeat)

I don't think I can attach pdf files to
this comment but you can find the sheet music
for this and several other Soviet songs at

Unknown said...

Thank you SO MUCH!!!!!!

- Michael

Unknown said...

You're most welcome Les

Unknown said...

I wonder where your Pop picked the song up from. My Mum and Dad, being old commies, had the booklet lying around in the house but it went missing when they moved. Just out of interest

Unknown said...

I have no idea. My Pop and Granny knew tonnes of songs. This was "his" song that he often sang on road trips - and we loved it when he did. Nobody ever thought to ask him anything about the song or where he learned it from or even to learn the words!