A man who was unrelated to me actually, was an important part of my childhood and I think of him as a grandfather. He was old when I first met him and he did not age at all as I grew up. He died after I had left home and in all that time, he did not change. He farmed his bit of land, did laundry only occasionally, lived alone the whole time I knew him except for one summer when his daughter visited, regularly visited his wife’s grave up the river in his boat. He heated his home in the winter by burning wood he salvaged from the water, dragging it up onto land with a rope and his muscles and letting it dry. He had a wonderful collie at one point, such a smart dog, that did amazing things that I can’t remember specifically but it lead to my having a couple of collies after my children were born. Mr. Samardak (spelling unknown) though poor, was incredibly generous with what he did have. He shared the food he grew and fantastical stories. Apparently he fought wolves single-handed with only a knife in the forests of his youth. He kept pigeons for a while. I remembered my mother being skeptical that the twig he stuffed into the ground would grow but it did. He gave us a spider plant that we kept going until long after his death. He would burn the dead grass along our laneway every spring, saying that it helped the grass grow. Many years later, we learned that this too was true. My father kept a close eye on this activity, worried a fire would burn us all to the ground but it never got out of control. Mr. Samardak grew elephant garlic, long before you could get it anywhere else. He was so understated and yet amazing but only over time. I could go on and on but perhaps I should come to the point finally.
In honour of my beloved Mr. Samardak who we think was born in Romania, I will be participating in the Hands2Help Charity Quilt Challenge being hosted by Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict and Judy at Green Fairy Quilts. Sign up starts today until Wednesday so please be quick if you’d like to join. There’s a giveaway too and prizes for finishing.