A Different Time

 

Great Patriarch. My grandfather, Charles Schneider pictured as a young boy on the far right in 1933.

Coming out of a couple of very busy few weeks, last week culminated in a series of emotional highs and lows that defy description. Our crew traveled from Claresholm (ARCHA Alberta Championships), to Edmonton, to Chiliwack to compete in the 2013 Superslide Out West. Back to back to back. We covered 2,886 kilometers in one week.

The drive to British Columbia was fraught with several hours waiting on construction and car accidents. We arrived at 1:30 a.m. and the sight of a rented hotel room was like an oasis in the desert! Remarkably, our littlest cowpokes rode cheerfully in our covered wagon for the entire duration of the trip; napping occasionally, distracted by miniature tractors and magnetic ponies, and serenaded by Elmo and the characters of Sesame Street. And the horses did well, drinking and eating for the most part – on their long journey.

Oh, the Horse Show life.

The achievements of my husband’s customers at both shows made the trips worthwhile. Their support, friendship and senses of humor always make our adventures, affairs to remember. But our own personal accomplishments were tempered by the loss of two grandparents during the Chilliwack event.

Upon returning home, there were arrangements to make. Another suitcase to pack – though this time, not one I eagerly anticipated. And funerals to attend.

I am ashamed to admit there were things I learned about my Grandfather at his memorial that I never knew about him, during his trips around the sun. But the empty space in our family tree has left a profound impression on the way I will view life, going forward.

While we as a family huddled together, viewed pictures and tried to whisper comforting thoughts to each other, many things were said. Things that summoned a fireball of love and loss within this anguished granddaughter’s heart.

One glaring detail that will forever resonate were the pictures of my Grandfather as a young child, born into the Dirty 30s. This is when many of us would say, “He came from a different time.”

Black and white images of horses hitched to plows for long hours of hard work. Tattered clothing. Poverty. And yet in the corner, a smiling, beaming child. My Grandfather.

Yes, he came from a different time. And here’s a thought – what if he came from a better time? Not to say that I devalue my generation’s time on Earth, nor am I blind to the blessings I have been granted. But in my Grandfather’s Day – people had real, face-to-face communication. People looked after each other. They lived in a time when food was not plentiful so they made do, the best they could.

There was no email. No keeping up with the rat race. No clutter.

It was a time when people fixed things that were broken, instead of running out and getting new ones. Things like cars (if they had them). Toys. Even marriages.

Certainly our grandparents came from a hard time, an era plagued by struggle and war but the knowledge and wisdom they garnered as a result of it is impressive. And the good-fortune and opportunities bestowed upon their families as a result of their hard work is admirable.

Watching my Grandfather’s slide show from beginning to end was outstanding: that same smile kept reappearing and reappearing.

Photos through every decade, lovingly featuring new family members as they were born. Bustling Christmases with an overflowing, gift-filled tree. Good times. Graduations. Birthdays. Grandchildren. Hockey games. Great-grandchildren.

With his passing, the chaos that is often my world intersected with unexpected poignancy – beyond death and despair, love exists in the farthest depths of the human heart. Reminding me that even in difficult times, life is remarkable.

 

 

Comments

  1. Wow! Thanks Jenn. Makes one stop and reflect..

  2. Nice, Jenn. I walked that journey with you as I read. One part really hit home for me. I no longer have parents or grandparents and find myself wishing I had listened better to their stories or asked more questions for there are things I do not know and now I cannot ask…

  3. oh so true. You just made me cry Jenn, but I have even doing that a lot lately. You and Clay are a great example if this philosophy. ((JCfb))

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