Latitude 17N

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Paul Barlow

Well, I've been reminscing a lot about my grandfather so I thought I would paste in a letter that I had on display at my grandfathers memorial service last year. It explains what our relationship was like and it goes like this...

It all began when I was younger. I enjoyed my birthday so much that I would begin reminding people of it’s approach at least a month before hand. This went on until finally it morphed into a new personal holiday period that I call Danielluka. Sort of like Hanukkah, it is a period of weeks leading up to my birthday where I spread the word to people about my birthday coming up. Haha. One year, when I was a teenager, around Thanksgiving, I was telling Grampa that he had two weeks to start saving for my birthday. He asked what I wanted for my birthday and since I had my license at that point, I told him I wanted a Mercedes Benz. We liked to joke around so I figured it was just our usual banter. Well, on my birthday, I got a package with a present in it and when I opened it I found a little toy Mercedes. This started years of joke gifts between us for our birthdays. I always remembered his birthday and he always remembered mine. Sometimes my gifts were mailed to me. I could always tell who they were from because they were addressed in Grampa’s fine handwriting. One year I asked for a trip to Hawaii and he gave me a feather as a one way ticket. He also gave me a bonus gift of a Maytag washer and dryer. This consisted of a washer, like the kind you use with a bolt, with a tag on it of the month of May and the dryer was a piece of clothesline with a clothes pin on it. Another year I gave him a card with a joke in it and for my birthday he gave me back the card and told me I was cheap and that he never promised me a rose garden and this was pasted onto a box of dead roses. To anyone else this may have been an insult but between us it was the funniest thing. Some people thought we were a little strange and maybe they were right but this is what made our relationship special. A couple of ‘winners’ is how it is sometimes put.

On December 10th of 2004, Grampa looked at my mother and Grammy and said “Tomorrow is Dani’s birthday, I need to think up something…we always do that.” Just the fact that he remembered the day was enough for me this year. He did muster up enough strength to sign my card which is something he had rarely done in the last few years. Always for me he would sign my card. Just after that day I came back from being in Nevis for 7 months and spent some time with him. He was having a good day and it was great to see him. A couple of days later, my mother and grandmother asked him what was so special about me and they wondered why we had this special relationship. And he looked at my grandmother and gave her that look that says ‘you should know’ and said “Because she’s just like you…she’s feisty.” Well that is the best compliment I could ever get because I look up to my grandmother so much because she is a woman who lived before her time and has never been considered ‘old’. She has always been young at heart and you can always count on her to have modern views on the issues in the world today. She’s not old fashioned at all. Grampa Paul Barlow will be missed by all that knew him and as Chet Rowe says “the world has just lost a national treasure.”


  • I can tell you love your g-parents as much as I love mine...I miss mine too...and there is nothing like the hug or "rib" that grandpa would give or the sass that grandma had in her voice...I can still hear their laugh...."ahhhh Dusti", they would say....followed by a great game of cribbage or 500 along with some great Frank Sinatra or Ella Fitzgerald... I miss them....(oh, and my best game of cribbage came when I was about 14 and I double-skunked grandpa!)

    By Blogger Dusti, at 10:53 PM  

  • This makes me think about how little time my daughter and son got to spend with my Mom. I have fond memories of my Dad's parents, but never really knew my Mom's parents. Good memories get better and should be cherished as we get older, right?

    By Blogger drdubg, at 6:41 AM  

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