Hey, everyone, this is April writing from the farm in Manitoba. As you might know, Grandpa Jim died last week. We'd all been trying to prepare ourselves because we knew that the moment was coming. But you never can really prepare yourself for that. I was pretty young when my Grandma Marian died, and I was never all that close with her, since she and Gramps were living in Vancouver, and we only saw them for short times when we visited them or they visited us. I didn't really understand death back then, though I was sad when the grown-ups explained I wouldn't see my gram anymore. Losing Gramps now is a whole other thing, of course. You know how close we are. Were. That past tense is really hard for me. I keep thinking we're going to have another video call and I catch myself thinking, "I can't wait to tell Gramps about this" or "Show that to Gramps." Then I remember and cry again, even though I keep thinking I must be out of tears. We will have his memorial in a week. I've got some special instructions from Iris, but I've been sworn to secrecy.
I have some interesting stuff to tell you about Dad's side of our family. I met my Uncle Bill! If you've read that "official" bio of my Patterson g'parents, you might remember the stuff about Dad and Aunt Bev having a little brother who works for Greenpeace and who moved out to Australia. You might even remember hearing about my mom having referred to him making a funny toast at Mom and Dad's wedding. But guess what? I learned that one untrue bit from the bio is that he "married an Indonesian girl of equally radical views." Notice the lack of detail? What's the name of this "girl"? See, actually, Bill's partner is a guy, but not just any guy. Remember Shannon Lake? It's her dad, Preston Lake, who split up with Shan's mom when Shan was five. Her mom remarried, and her dad moved out to Aus, where he also got a job with Greenpeace. What a coinky-dinky, eh? I asked Aunt Bev why this stuff got changed in the bio, and Aunt Bev told me that mom had felt that "that experience had already been represented through Lawrence." Baffling.
Anyway, they recently got jobs with Greenpeace Canada and have settled in Winnipeg. And since Shannon hasn't seen her dad in ages, she's going to come out and spend the last two weeks of this month in Winnipeg, before she needs to start school. She's twenty but will be in high school for another year. After she finishes, she also plans to get her Toward Independent Living (TIL) program certificate.
It's been awesome getting to know Uncle Bill. He's so unlike his sibs, it's hard to believe his last name is Patterson. For one thing, he's a vegan like me (yay!). His primary reason is environmental, though health and ethics are in the chewy mix, too. It's fun having someone to back me up for a change. Aunt Bev is so locked in that "traditional farm girl" mentality, she can't even see any contradictions in being a healer to animals raised to be someone's dinner. And now I have Uncle Bill pointing out the environmental angle to her. It's nice to feel less alone about this stuff! Though now we have Aunt Bev throwing up her hands and saying "Quit ganging up on me!"
Aunt Bev and Uncle Danny are considering transfering ownership of the farm to Laura, just like Grandpa Will and Grandma Carrie did with them years ago. Laura would like to run a veterinary office out of her home, same as Aunt Bev did. I asked her why she'd want to live in the place she grew up, when there's a whole big world out there, but she just kind of looked at me as if I had two heads!
Anyway, that's about all I've got for now. I'll check in with you again in September.