history and how i hate it

by underswansea


You can’t run from your history. They say you have to mind it or it will repeat itself.

The thing about history is it takes a long time to be clear of it.

My Grandfather Dapper was a farmer. He raised chickens and turkeys. Sold fresh vegetables. A person could do that back then.

My dad told me this story. One time a tourist drove up to their farm in Windermere and wanted to buy some vegetables. My dad was about 8 or 9.

The motorist picked some things. A cabbage, a few spuds and a bunch of carrots. He was ready to pay, then disputed the price of the carrots. He wanted a deal. They were 10¢ a bunch. He said he could get them for 5¢ at the Experimental Farm 2 miles up the road.

My dad remembers my grandfather telling the tourist, if he wanted carrots for five cents then he could drive the 2 miles to get them.

They went back and forth. My grandfather never budged from 10¢ knowing it was a fair price.

The guy tried everything including bringing into question the quality of the carrots.

Finally, knowing my grandfather wasn’t going to budge, he agreed to pay the 10¢.

As my father told the story, to his surprise, Dapper took the vegetables away and told the tourist he could buy them at the Experimental Farm.

My dad said he was shocked. The money they needed was gone.

Our family has hundreds of these stories.

Stories, that we walk away with our ‘chin up’ but are weaker in the long run.

After the war my father worked running Linotype for the Calgary Herald. He couldn’t stand the union. If he had a hung in there he would have had a pension.

He ran his own paper. His wife worked and his kids too. They made do. The trade off sounds good. But those slow Linotype operators had it easier and retired with more.

Lisa says my career was in the business’s I ran. For that I’m proud. But now I work for a union. It’s tough. She says to ignore it. And I’m trying.

My son called me today and said something that sounded a lot like Dapper and his Grandfather.

It scared me. How many generations does it take to fit in? We make good fighters, we’re smarter than most supervisors, we’re hard workers and we can’t tell lies. But what has that got us.

I am hoping better for him.

History is a bugger.