Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Honour Thy Father

Today would have been my Dad's umteenth birthday ... number 108 to be precise .... so I have decided to post a few words and photos illustrating one of his lifelong passions ... gardening ... and also, what I often kidded him about , his "outdoing the Joneses". ......... his Super BBQ pit !!

To the untrained and uninformed eye they were mere flowers , to the more knowledgeable observer they were dahlias .... whereas to my Dad there was Flaming Sunset , Dawn's Dew , Tiffany's Glory , Sterling Silver , Lady Blythe , etc ... they all bore names and he knew them all by heart .... like a father knows his children. When I was child growing up and listening to him "talking names" with Fred Joyce or Charlie Gibbons .. two avid gardeners like himself ... I thought they were referring to racehorses ! Dad loved all flowers but dahlias were his favourites ... with gladioli and mums in hot pursuit ... and every Fall he would dig up all the clumps of tubers, shake them free of most earth , painstakingly wrap up them in newspapers and store them in the cellar ...... sheltered  from winter's wrath ! Come the following Spring he would check the clumps for sprouts and quite often by judiciously cutting and dividing them  ...... he could easily triple the number of plants for the upcoming Summer..... truly a labour of love !  From mid July until mid September my father supplied many armfuls of flowers to decorate the altar at Saint Peter's Church .... the nuns even came by car now and then to gather specific colour glads for special occasions.

My folks came to visit me in Quebec City during the Summer of 1974 and I remember cooking up a big juicy tenderloin steak for my Dad on my itsy bitsy ,"measely-looking"  little charcoal Hibachi. He was impressed by the steak but not at all by my set up. I knew he liked outdoor cooking , campfires and the likes as we had often done so during my childhood at beaches upriver at the Farms , Harding's Point , Cahpel Grove or down near Dipper Harbour ....  so he told me there and then he would build himself a giant open air cooking station in the backyard for summer picnics with family and friends ..... and he DID !!
Mary McElwaine cooking up hamburgers . Mom , L'il Oonie McElwaine , Dad , Eunice McElwaine

Here's to you , Dad .... Happy Birthday !

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