The Fabricated Goddess

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Lest We Forget....

Today I spent the day in Wyoming, Ontario, with my mother's substantial family. My mother is one of 16 children from the same parents - no blended family here. We gathered today to honour my Grandfather McKinley, a WWII vet. We attended a Rememberance Day ceremony and had lunch together after, all 60 or so of us. It was glorious and whirlwind and I'm exhausted. My mother asked me to write a little something as a tribute to my grandpa. I obliged but I need to remind her some time that I'm not some sort of trained circus monkey like she assumes. Tap dancing would have been less stressful. Dear Grandpa, I love you, you old rascal and I'm proud of what you've accomplised with this life of yours. Thanks for everything you've taught us. Novemeber 11th, 2006. Wyoming, Ontario Lions Hall
When I think about who I am I’m always reminded that to define who I am I first have to remember where I come from. Looking around this room today, the focus sharpens and I can see vividly who I am and where I come from. In all of us a little bit of John and Effie. A strange and wonderful blend of hard working self- reliance with a dash of hero, tyrant, and rascal all rolled into one. I’ve heard it taught that life is like a fiery furnace where there can only be three outcomes: you can be miraculously removed from the fire, you can be consumed and burned up by the fire, or you can pass through the fire and come out on the other side transformed. There have been times in my life when I have wished for some miracle to pluck me out of the fire. I hear my mother’s voice,”baby girl,” she says “don’t wish away your life” and I know that I can’t avoid the difficult times life brings my way. Other times when life gets tough and the heat of the fire seems too hot to handle, I want to lay down and give up. I think to myself “that’s it, I’m done. I can’t take any more.” A still small voice is always waiting for these moments of self pity and defeat….It says to me: ‘what are YOU complaining about? Your fire is nothing. You think your life is challenging? How did John and Effie do it? Look how much they had to face every day and they didn’t lay down and give up, they didn’t turn tail and run…Your fire? It’s just a little spark, you can handle it. And this is when I know, deep down that there has only ever been ONE option: I must pass through the fire. This I know how to do: to put my nose to the grindstone, to wade in, to fight through the difficult times with every scrappy bit of strength I have - this is John and Effie’s legacy. Today we are gathered to honour John Celsus McKinley for all that he has done - for his country and for his family. For the way that he taught us that hard work is key, that it matters. That challenges are to be faced head on. That the fire of life might get hot sometimes but if you fight it with everything you’ve got, it doesn’t stand a chance at consuming you. Gunnar McKinley, we salute you. Thank you for never leaving your post.

2 Comments:

  • That is absolutely beautiful and hits home as my grandfather - also a WWII vet passed a few weeks ago.
    Thanks for giving me another chance to think about him.

    By Anonymous Krystin, at 11/13/2006 09:01:00 a.m.  

  • That is absolutely beautiful and hits home as my grandfather - also a WWII vet passed a few weeks ago.
    Thanks for giving me another chance to think about him.

    By Anonymous Krystin, at 11/13/2006 09:02:00 a.m.  

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