14 June 2010
My maternal grandfather was an expert marksman. As a sniper in WWII, Donald Fraser won top place in the annual competition at Bisley. One of my earliest memories are of him lying on the roof of his boathouse, repeatedly pinging a spot across the river with his rifle. He showed me how to align the sights on his rifle in conjunction with a telescope.
In the 1930s Canada was hit hard by the Great Depression. My newly-married grandparents were very poor and to make ends meet my grandfather went hunting. This deer fed my grandparents for a whole winter. To this day my grandmother hates the taste of venison because it brings back memories of those tough times.
In addition to being several hundred meals, the deer's head was stuffed and mounted. For 75 years "Mr Deer" watched from the wall and has become part of the family. While wearing my grandfather's army Stetson, he has seen two generations of children grow up.
My grandfather died in 1980, and now my grandmother's health is failing. I'm determined to keep the deer in the family so with my grandmother's house being rapidly emptied, I took him down to the local UPS store for shipment from Ottawa to San Francisco. The look on the face of the UPS clerk was priceless when I walked into his store carrying a deer's head.
The UPS guy did a fantastic job of packing the deer. Fully supported and double-boxed, the deer had a smooth trip to San Francisco. I don't have a place for him in my apartment right now, so I'm leaving him in his expertly packed shipping container for the moment. But as soon as I'm in a place where I can drill into the walls with impunity, Mr Deer will be back. Wearing my grandfather's Stetson, of course.
Secondary consequences triggered by my grandmother's health are keeping me occupied with mundane logistics. It will be a little while before I'm able to return to building interesting things. In the mean time, here's a cute photo of Pixel in her new hammock.