Telling Our Stories:

    "Lexlexey'em"

  Story telling is the Shuswap

way  of passing our history

to the next generations

This is My Eulogy to Granny Clotilde - September 2007

Rick Gilbert                                      Weytk"            

 

My very first memories in life had Granny in them… I only knew her as ‘Mom’, all of my life.  She raised me as one of her own children, from the time I was born.  She always referred to me as her “son”. 

There were five of us and we lived in the old log house, just in front of the church.  There wasGrampa (I’ve ever only called him ‘Dad’), Mom, Mary, and Jake and me.  We were the Frank Thomas Family. 

For the sake of all the grand children and all the people who knew her, I will use “granny” to talk about her.  But she will always be ‘Mom’ to me.  Granny always had a sense of humor, even to the very end.  Anne Louie told me a story about Granny last week.  After Granny moved into the Westbank Care Home, Anne just happened to be in Kelowna for doctor’s appointments.  So knowing that Granny was in Westbank, Anne began to visit her everyday.  A couple of days before she died, Granny told Anne, as she was getting ready to leave, “You make sure you come back and see me tomorrow or I’ll “ghost” you the rest of your life.” J Anne said that she was so glad that she did return to visit her.

 

I can just hear Granny’s daughters, Mary and Agatha, when she finally made her appearance on the other side.  They probably would have greeted her by saying, “Gee, we thought you were never coming”.  To which Granny would have replied, “Well, I had so many grandchildren to look after you know”.   

Anna and I drove up from Kamloops a week after granny’s birthday to celebrate with her.  For her 100th Birthday, we brought her among other things, a coat with a matching bag.  As I was trying the coat on Granny, she kept joking in Shuswap, “Are you going to put this on me when I die?” J  I laughed and told her, ‘No, it’s for when you travel”. Then we showed her the matching bag for the coat, her comment was, “I’ll carry all my money to Jesus in this!” J  Anna was quite taken aback by these humorous

comments J  But really… I guess she knew…

    

Granny was a very spiritual, religious woman.  She treasured every religious item we ever gave her, whether it was a rosary, a crucifix or a religious candle.  She always had a prayer on her lips...  Granny firmly believed in the Great Spirit; she believed in the Lord, Jesus Christ.  And speaking of praying… I was told about a time when the Sugar Care Elders were taken out to Quesnel Lake to visit some of our traditional lands out there.  The elders were all treated to a helicopter ride while out there.  This was to be Granny’s very first ride on a helicopter.  I was told that as Granny was being helped towards the helicopter, she became deathly scared and started praying right out loud J She probably thought at that very minute she would be going to the happy hunting grounds to meet her daughters J  As it happened, she enjoyed the helicopter ride very much and actually wanted to go up again J

 

When she was staying at the Cariboo Lodge, I once sent her a letter with some “Scratch & Win” cards.  I told her that if she won a million dollars, she could buy Cariboo Lodge and bring all her friends to live with her.  She thought that was very funny J and mentioned it every time I met her after that.

 

When she was younger,  “Granny” used to smoke a lot,; and for as long as I can remember, she always had her can of tobacco. She only smoked one brand – Vogue. Anyway, when I was about seven or eight years old, when she used to smoke almost constantly, I started rolling her cigarettes for her.  Some of the cigarettes would be too loose, with not much tobacco in them.  Others, I would use a stick match to push more tobacco in the ends to make a fuller cigarette.  One time I must have pushed too much tobacco in too tight, cause when she went to light it she couldn’t even puff through it.  She was soooo mad that she took the cigarette out of her mouth and threw it into the wood

pile J Needless to say, I didn’t roll any more cigarettes for her after that J

 

This reminds me of another cigarette incident involving Richard Sellars and Adrian when they were about four or five years old.  Someone caught them trying to smoke behind old Ned’s house.  I don’t have to tell you, they were in big trouble.  I heard that Martha got a couple of cigarettes and lit them one at a time and made Richard start smoking.  There was Richard sittin under the table a smokin and a coughin and a

chokin! J I heard Granny did the same to Adrian.  I don’t think they tried smoking for a lonnnngg time after that.

 

Granny finally quite smoking and drinking when she was about 75 years old, I think…   I don’t think it affected her health too much, as she obviously lived to reach 100 years…

 

We all know just how much granny loved Bingo… she was one of the “regulars” at the Bingo Hall in town for years.  J When she could no longer hear or see good enough to play at the real Bingo Halls, she started playing the Scratch & Win Bingo cards.  No matter where you found her, whenever you came for a visit with her, you would undoubtedly catch her sitting at the table with her magnifying glass, her pocket knife and a half dozen Bingo Scratch & Wins; and it would be a very good idea to have more to give her J She always seemed to win just enough to buy more cards and keep her game going…

 

It was a real blessing that Granny managed to keep a clear and sharp mind right to the very end… Anna will tell you about her difficulty trying to understand and decipher exactly what Granny was saying to her, whenever we visited.  But I think that was mostly because Granny no longer had any teeth.  Anna loved Granny and Granny loved her…  After the birthday party, when we finally got up to leave, Anna bent over, gave Granny a kiss and said “Me7 wiktsen” (I’ll see you again) to Granny, in her ear so she could hear.  With a great big smile, and right out loud, just so clearly, Granny said to Anna, “Is good to hear you speak my language!”  Those were the last words Granny ever spoke to her… Anna says she will hold them as a “Treasure” in her heart forever…

 

And so now she has left us.  She has gone to that Great Bingo Palace in the sky, where every game is a winner and every Scratch & Win card gets you the “Big One”  Putuc MOM. I love you.

 

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