I liked him a lot.
He was nice to me.
The family talked about him a lot.
I would listen to Mom and my Aunt talk about Nana and Tom.
I remember them realising, in hindsight, Nana was 50 (their present age) when she married Tom.
They both thought she was too old to get re-married at the time of her wedding.
They laughed at their hypocrisy.
They laughed about wearing wigs to the wedding.
My sister and I called Tom...’Tom’.
My cousins called him ‘Uncle Tom.’
I was always curious about that.
It was the ‘calling an adult by their first name’ issue.
My Aunt did not want her kids doing that.
Why it was ok with Mom is unclear.
Either way, I liked going to visit Nana and Tom.
I loved to spend the night.
The bed I got to sleep in was SO high.
The mattress was SO soft!
But, the best thing...
Climbing into their bed in the morning.
Tom called Nana, “Nana goat”.
I would pretend to be mad and come to Nana’s defense.
Tom would make us pancakes.
He was so funny putting the ingredients together.
We watched his every move.
We listened to his every word!
He would make a huge pile of pancakes.
Then he would cut out the centre.
The steam would float up above the stack.
There he would pour in the syrup.
He would pour it slowly, lifting the bottle higher and higher.
We would chant, ‘More! More! More!’
He would, dramatically, stop pouring the syrup with, ‘tadum!”
We would giggle and then lick our lips as we watched.
When the syrup began to leak out between the layers of hot pancakes...
We would applaud!
Tom would hug Nana and give her a kiss.
I would run and put myself between them.
I just loved them.
I loved that they loved each other.
Tom always wore a suit.
He took the jacket off when he was in the house.
He wore dress shoes too.
Shiny, brown dress shoes.
I didn’t know anyone else who wore a suit every day.
He would ask if he could brush my hair when I visited.
He would tell me about his sister as he brushed.
How she had hair like Rapunzel,
And, how he would comb it for her every night.
Tom was always giving us money.
He would quietly slip us coins so we could go to the store for a treat.
The store was only a short walk from their house.
He would want to see what we bought when we returned.
He was always happy.
Tom kept his medicine in the den closet.
He would tell us he had to go take his medicine and off to the den he would go.
One day my cousins and I looked for his medicine.
We found it up on the shelf.
His medicine was in a brown bottle.
We could smell his medicine on his breath.
Nana never took any medicine.
Tom always made me feel special.
After he hugged me he would pat my butt and say,
“You got a sturdy one there.”
I was happy he thought I was sturdy...whatever that meant.
Tom and I shared the same birthday month.
Our birthdays were only two days apart.
We often shared birthday cakes.
I thought that was pretty cool.
Tom made my Nana happy.
Together, they made me happy.
Tom passed away when I was in Grade 8.
My Nana was so sad.
They had only been married for twelve years.
Tom was the first person to pass away, who I cared for.
I had never seen Nana sad before.
I watched my Mom help her...
Nana never needed help before.
Nana, who is now 101 years of age,
Refers to her years with Tom as,
‘The best years of my life.’
‘He was so good to me.’
‘Wasn’t I lucky?’
That’s my Nana.