Friday, 5 June 2015

My Favourite Boston Bruin

I'm avoiding work again... It's not that I'm disinterested in my dissertation, it's just that, well I don't know, I guess I just don't want to work! But, this time, at least, I'm avoiding work because I've been having a relaxing morning reminiscing on some old times. Childhood memories...

It's been ten years today since my grandfather (my Mom's father) passed away. He had a long battle with Parkinson's disease - but that's not how he was defined. No, James R. Pineo was a hardworking man, with a brilliant mind for business. He built several successful businesses and lived the "rags to riches" storyline that we hear about every once in a while. Except, he never saw the beginning as a set back, more of a challenge that he was determined to overcome. Stubborn, headstrong, and a great sense of humour. Reminds me of someone else I looked up to...

As a child, he used to terrify me. Not in a "he's a scary man" sort of way, but more of an "in awe" way. I don't ever remember him treating me like a child. In fact, I have very distinct memories of conversations with him that were well above my years. If I could chat with him now, oh the questions I would ask...

One memory that always sticks out took place during one of my "summer getaway weekends" with Grammy and Grampy, in which my Mom would send me for a few nights, so she could get away from us kids for a few days! It was a calm evening, and he and I were sitting out on the back patio enjoying a glass of lemonade and watching the tide come in (or go out... who really knows which way it's going?!). Somehow we got on to the topic of heaven and hell. Way too heavy a subject for little old 4 or 5 year old me! But, I remember him trying to rationalize it. His conclusion was that the up and down of heaven and hell, as it is often described, meant that the two were as far away from each other as possible - not that one was physically above and the other down below (where ever that would be). I still feel that sense of amazement looking back on that moment as I did when he first said it.

You may be questioning the title for this post, because so far, I haven't revealed anything that would allow you to make the link. So, I'll tell you this fun fact about my grandfather. Aside from his business acumen and philosophically-based conversations with his young grandchild, he was an avid sportsman. Hockey was one of his great loves. And it turned out he was pretty good. So good in fact, that he was recruited by the Boston Bruins as a goalie. Now, I've heard conflicting stories as to why he didn't officially make it to the Bruins, and I have yet to decipher which is the truth. But, the gist of it is that my grandmother was having none of this hockey foolishness, and gave him an ultimatum - her or hockey. And, since I've pretty much already spoiled the ending, and the fact that they had close to 60 years and four children together, he chose option #1! My grandmother has told me, though, that he didn't like the professional hockey lifestyle, because the focus wasn't so much on the game and thus it wasn't "fun." Based on the relationship they had together, I'd say he just really loved her, and she became the priority over hockey. But, it's a fun story nevertheless.

Anyway, my grandfather heavily influenced my independent, thinking-for-myself, hardworking, ethical foundation. My mother, showcasing these same characteristics in her own right, furthered that influence. I am who I am as a great result of who they were, and how my relationships with them shaped me.

-the Orange Canadian

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