I have developed a new ambition for my life. This is it: When I die, I want to be as well regarded as Dave Dryburgh, (my uncle and the subject of my biography) was when he died. It is a gargantuan ambition. “Gargantuan”, because of the accolades that were printed at the time. July of 1948 bestowed such honor and gratitude. None of it was phony, but instead pictured a man who was altogether real, humble, centered, and comfortable in his own skin. This is an example; these words were written by an unknown author and appeared in the Regina Leader Post.
The pretty speech just wasn’t in him but under the toughness, there was the Dryburgh heart. Too big and soft for his own good. Everybody put the bee on Dave in some way or another and Dave was good at it—whether it was to lend a sympathetic ear to a person confidence, a touch from the broken-down crumpled-ear fraternity who made their way to his office, the little kids who got their first tickets to the fights from him, or the hockey tickets he wangled for juniors on the staff. !t was at the office parties that we saw Dave at his happiest best. His delight in office get-togethers was so real, he crackled and fizzed and shot off sparks like a long-lived firecracker. The Dryburgh grin in the face getting pinker—this was something to see. So was Dave a the piano, singing with more goodwill than tonal excellence. Liking a good time so much himself, he couldn’t resist seeing to it that others were having fun too. Mercurial, bombastic…and tender…good-natured, big hearted…these are all the things we will say about Dave. He was good for us around here and we will talk about him often. “He was a good guy” we will say. Better than that we cannot say because each of us, in the greatest sincerity will mean it.
Of course I would also like to write as well as Dave Dryburgh did, but that would be asking too much.”
The picture of Uncle Dave at the office party is the one I treasure most. I guess because it resembles me. ‘Mercurial’ and ‘bombastic’ are my middle names. I cannot sing either, although I do not know if I can crackle, fizzle and shoot off sparks.
Yesterday was certainly a fun day. I went shoe shopping (one of the greatest pleasures in life), and scored with a pair of purple runners and bright pink socks. Then, back to Cactus Gardens for lunch and this interchange with Kirstyn: Her: ”It is good to indulge yourself once in awhile.” Me: Once in a while? Constantly!” Her: Constantly is much better than sometimes, I always say.”
Then, I went to see ten-year-old Amy, Gail’s granddaughter. We had met a few months ago when Amy, her mother, and brother visited London. When I got there, I said, “Amy, do you remember me?” “OF COURSE, I REMEMBER YOU! Do you want to see my room?” “Of course I want to see your room.” So, we went to Amy’s room and spoke of many things. This was her divine truth, which I promised to blog. “Anna and I have found the meaning of life. It is to hate math.” I LOVE this, as I hate math with a passion as well. I cannot believe the connection I feel for this young girl that I met only briefly months ago.
Afterwards, it was off to a birthday celebration for Gail at her other daughter’s house in the West End. Although I had briefly met Virginia, it was a first time meeting her husband Sascha, and grandsons Otis and Oliver. We had an incredibly good dinner of lamb and (unfortunately) vegetables, which I somewhat ate. It was followed by strawberry shortcake. How yum! Then, Otis and Oliver and I got into jokes for the blog. “What do you call a three humped camel?” Pregnant. (That one is my all time favorite). “What do you call a cheese that is sad?” Blue cheese. “What do clouds wear under their shorts? Thunder pants.
Otis and Oliver drew birthday greetings to their grandmother on a drawing board. Those masterpieces are pictured below.
After all of that, I was exhausted and went home to bed very early. I went to sleep just after eight and awoke at five, and perchance I did dream.
During the day, we received more family news. It was an email from cousin Faye. Faye usually lives in Regina but is snow-birding in Florida. She met up, for the second time in her life with Janet, our eighty-year-old cousin. Faye wrote: “Janet is an amazing person, and a wonderful hostess. Her hospitality was fantastic, and it was so nice to be able to patch together some of our missing history. She remembers me from about 65 years ago, but alas, I have no memories of her from back then. Happily, I will have some from now to remember her by, and hope to meet again and make more of them. That means that I have now met all of you, though it has been nearly 50 years since I saw Pat. Not doing quite so well with the male cousins, as the only one that I can say I know at all is David, and it was especially nice of him to join our get together last summer, so that I can now have a more current image of him to think of (he isn’t a little boy anymore!)”
So, there you go! That is a Canadian expression I think. I will see Faye in about six weeks. I am going to travel to Regina to finish the biography of Dave Dryburgh. It is fitting to finish there, as that is where he did all of his writing. It is so gratifying that this Dryburgh family is coming together (well the female cousins, the nieces of Uncle Dave anyway.) We owe this newfound family connection to him. Well, with a little help from me, since he has been dead since 1948.