As a newly minted grandfather I’ve spent the last few months working on a some essential skills that I believe every grandparent should master. At forty one I’m arguably on the young side for the big G status, sure, but it’s never too early to break in a new pair of shoes and really, do I have a choice?
Unfortunately all of my grandparents passed away while I was still young, and my memory is not what it used to be, so I’m kind of making things up as I go along. I’ve watched a few grandparent-themed movies like On Golden Pond and Grumpier Old Men, and they’ve certainly helped guide the way in terms of fundamentals.
Long, contemplative walks seem to be standard issue. And so do early supper times, preferably no later than 5:30. I’ve added a healthy dose of borderline socially unacceptable sarcasm to the arsenal as well because it worked in both movies and, let’s face it, I don’t do anything half-arsed.
I caught myself starting off every story on my fishing charter the other day with “well in the old days” or “I can remember when”. I don’t think the clients really pay that much attention to what I’m saying anyway, but I was impressed with how quickly I was mastering the role. A smug smile firmly planted on my lips for the duration of the trip.
Papi is the name I’ve adopted since my granddaughter Kali was born, because I’m a fan of Earnest Hemingway and I still cringe a little bit when the term ‘grandfather’ is thrown casually in my direction at the Co-Op. Plus it’s a good idea to pick something early, the good names get snapped up pretty quick.
I look forward to teaching Kali a whole lot of valuable life skills, but I also look forward to spoiling her rotten like all good grandparents world-wide are oft to do. I cherish the memories I have of my grandfather taking us fishing, teaching us about tackle, knots, and boats. We rarely caught anything, and in hindsight my grandfather must have been at best a mediocre fisherman, but he sure made the effort and that’s what matters a lot.
With any luck Kali will remember some of the moments we’ll spend together in the future, I look forward to that. I’ll inevitably take her fishing at some point, and with any luck she’ll enjoy it. But if she doesn’t I’m not adverse to playing dress-up, or Princess Fairy. Having raised a daughter I already know all of the words to most of the Disney movies by heart.
I wonder if Kali will take her first fishing trip with me this summer, even if it’s just a trip down to the marina like mine was to catch piling perch from the dock. I can’t remember that particular moment, I was around three or four, but my mom still has the picture. I’m holding up this tiny little perch and I’m just beaming, my smile as bright as the sunshine on a warm, sunny Galiano Island summer day a long time ago.
I’ll have to think about that on my next contemplative walk down to the marina to feed Chester and the rest of the pigeons. Life doesn’t last forever, so I better pass along some of those perch skills while there’s still time.
May is the start of the summer season in Tofino, and another wonderful year of adventure in the ocean, rivers, and lakes that make up Clayoquot Sound. The salmon and halibut are running, and the wildlife migrations are in full swing. It’s the time of year when all manner of creature is passing along their knowledge to the next generation of little rascals who will soon follow in our footsteps. So grab the young ones and get out there and enjoy making memories of your own. There’s plenty of adventure to be had.
- Captain Josh Temple