It is a glorious day here in Michigan, I went out and did some coaching today, and some steaks are going to find their way on to the BBQ shortly. I have a beer in hand, pain pills for my tooth problems close by, so all is good in the world.
Quite often on days like these I get to wondering how I ended up the way I am. I have a keen sence of humour, was I just born with that? I have a keen sence of loyalty to people and rules? Is that something in my DNA? I love to throw myself 100% into what I do, that is my Fathers fault, I’ve already covered that!
When I look back at my influences in life, it is obvious. Television made me the way I am!
Oh alright, my Fathers sence of humour. But the rest of it I think comes from my Granddad. Grandpa. Grandfather, what ever you want to call him. I called him Granddad.
Victor Baker, died in 1985, an odd place to start this but none the less that’s where I wanted to begin. I knew him for 15 years. Not very long in the general scheme of things, but it was five more years than I knew my Father. In that time I tried to learn as much about the man as I could. I came to the conclusion that in his latter years he was a nut case. Now I know where I get that from.
He wasn’t always a nut case though. See what I did there, started off in the last paragraph at the end and now jumped back to the start, they do that in movies all the time. If only they did that with Titanic it may have ended better! My granddad was a military man, in the 1930s he was with the Suffolk Regiment and spend some of the 1930s in India near the town of Trimalugherry where he was a Warrent Officer. This meant he got to yell at a lot of “orrible little men,” who I’m sure hatted his guts quite a lot. After all painting rocks and peeling potatoes is about all you can do in India. It was the last days of the British Empire, the good old days where England owned all the pink countries on a map. My Father was born out there in 1933 something that always makes me smile when I look at my birth certificate.
It wasn’t long before my Granddad was back in England, and when Germany decided it wanted to expand to have some beach front property, my Granddad was there in France leading his men. And then when it went pair shaped he was there on the beach at Dunkirk making sure all his men got in the boats first. I think perhaps my loyalty comes from somewhere like this, I always want to do the right thing.
You would think surviving something like the Dunkirk evacuation would be enough, but in 1944 when D-Day went down, he was back there. I can only imagine what that was like, I did some time in the British Army, but never saw anything like he saw, so I’m pretty sure you can excuse him for being a nut case.
During the 1970s my Granddad suffered a stroke which put him in a wheel chair for the rest of his life. It made him all the more batty, but I loved going there anywhere. I mean what kid was allowed to play with a box of matches! Oh alright, they were used already, but he used to save them in a box and that would be what I played with.
Around 1976-ish Granddad and Nanna celebrated 50 years of being married, there was a big party and my Father had gotten a special rose-bush for me to present to them on the occasion. As you can see in this photo that captures the moment perfectly that my Nanna is crying. She is overwhelmed because her little Grandson is crying, obviously overjoyed to be giving this plant to them.
What she didn’t know is that two minutes prior to handing over the plant, I banged my head on a shelf and was crying because it hurt like a S.O.B. All I wanted to do was check to make sure my brains were not on the outside of my skull, but I had to hand over this twig that would probably not get watered anyway!
My Granddad always wore his medals with pride, and would love to show them off any chance he could. He earned them, well most of them, after his death there were a few in his collection that he had collected at auctions along the way.
Being wheelchair bound he never stopped him going for long walks. Or rolls, depending on your point of view. As long as he was going downhill he was fine. I remember watching the local youth pushing my Granddad up the hill back home. I know what he had told them too. “hey, if you push me home, I’ll give you something for your trouble.” of course they were thinking, “Kerching!” money! Yeah, no.
Granddad would be safely home in his front yard and would pull a couple of figs off the bush that grew by the front door, “eat these and you’ll have no troubles!”
I often wondered why at Halloween Granddad’s house looked like the egg isle at the supermarket had exploded.
If I am my Fathers Son, then I hope that’s what I am, because if I end up like my Granddad, there’s a whole lot more people I can annoy!
Oh and this may be why I like to drink!