My beloved Grandpa, Harold Roberts, died this weekend.
He was able to see all seven of his children and woke just long enough to tell my Mum and her two sisters he loved them. Then he was gone.
It is strange to think of this world without him. Odd to think of family gatherings without him sitting comfortably in a large chair sporting cowboy boots, jeans, western shirt, bolo tie, and one of his favorite baseball caps, happily visiting with anyone and everyone.
Grandpa loved his family, and prayed for all 90+ of us by name every single day.
He loved the Indian people he lived and worked with most of his life.
He loved Tim Hortons, sipping coffee and visiting with his friends for hours.
He was a most lovingest man.
He’d sit on the couch with me, one arm around my shoulder pulling me close as he held my hand. He’d tell me he loved me and want to know all about what was going on in my life. He did the same for my brothers, cousins, aunts and uncles.
Grandpa did not have an easy life, not by a long shot. Some of his stories still make me shudder and get teary. But somehow he let each painful, gutting thing make him stronger, kinder, more patient and hopeful. He was not perfect, he messed up as regularly as the rest of us, but he loved, faithfully and unconditionally. And that is what made him precious to us.
My three brothers and I have such good memories of our childhood spent with him on the Alberta Prairies.
He had a station wagon back then, and in the winter would fill the whole car with cousins swathed in scarves, toques, mittens, boots, and snowsuits. He’d set our dogs on our laps then off we’d go to the golf course where a measly hill provided hours of sledding pleasure.
In the summer we’d pile in again and he’d take us off into the boonies, bumping down rutted tracks and across fields to abandoned stone houses or weathered farm houses that still had equipment and furniture propped up in the barren rooms. We had a marvelous time exploring and dreaming up all sorts of stories for those old places.
As good Canadians we adored ice hockey and played every minute we could spare from chores and school. Grandpa would come over to our house long before the sun was up to have breakfast with us and take the boys to hockey practice. When Grandpa was there we were allowed to have his signature breakfast: homemade bread toasted and buttered, slathered with peanut butter and topped with a thick layer of brown sugar. We loved it!!! I can still see him sitting at our old wooden table, grinning as he bit into that scrumptious, sugary toast.
After Grandpa died I cried. A lot. And then it was time to celebrate this lovely man, to remember him and be thankful.
So I drove to the store for bread, toasted it in the oven, applied a thick layer of peanut butter and an even thicker one of brown sugar, then got cozy in my armchair and made a toasty-toast to my Grandpa.
I love you, Grandpa. Thanks so much for loving us. XO
Grandpa’s Brown Sugar Toast
2 slices whole grain bread
- Toast bread and butter it.
- Slather with peanut butter.
- Top with brown sugar.
- Smile and eat.