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Jonn Bearcat Redmond
Can you turn Junk to Silver

My Grandfather was an Irishman by birth,although he had a famous name he didnt belong to the nobility, but the way he strutted about my father said he thought he was,My Grandfather was a tall man,had beautiful blue eyes and a golden beard that was like a sunset going down in the evening he was conscious of this fact and was careful with his beard,My father said that many thought he was a bit of a dandy lad,because he used to like to wear smart clothes not of the latest fashions but what he did have was in inpectable condition, he used to tell my father that clothes made the man, although my father thoughts on life as the exact opposite Clothes didnt make the man, of course Grandad was Victorian in his ways, The circle of friends grandfather had seemed to widen every day of his life, what little I remember of him on my days out with him to visit a old business friend of his,Mr Sharp, himself was another Carnegie in a smaller way,both him and my Grandfather were great judges of wine and cheeses,and Cuban cigars which both always partook in a lot of when we would take a day a visit to any o his friends ,what i really hated was the smell of those large cuban cigars that they both smoked,if God had meant for any two people to have a chimney on top of their hats it was definetely those two,,whether he gambled I cant remember,but most of their friends had the devil may care attitude,

My grandmother was a different type of person I often wondered how they both got together as they were as different as chalk and cheese,my grandmother my father spoke of with great tenderness,maybe he knew he wasnt going to have her long, I certainly missed her although she never held me long enough to bounce me on her knee,

its quite young when grandmother was alive for that short period of time,she took me one day along with my father and mother to a small Chapel she knew of in Cowdenbeath and there she held me in her arms and prayed to the statue of the virgin Mary,she would protect me from all the evils that were plaguing the countryside,in her way I suppose she was spoiling me,Why we went to the chapel in Cowdenbeath I will never know maybe she just liked the walk over the hill so she could pass the cemetry where all her family were buried,her oldest son my uncle John he had died in the Boer war,whilst saving three soldiers from his regiment,she never spoke much of him but when she did a tear was always in her eyes,it was about 6months after that trip she passed over, I really missed her she was a great old lady, although I was very young I did miss her, and my grandfather he was a great influence on me ,I was about 9years old when my grandfather first took ill, he always seemed to know that he was going to die but never on that certain day when I would sit by his bed,and Id pray the prayers my grandmother had taught me and he would say stop that mumbling laddie I am not ready to go yet,when I was 10 it was decided it was time I started to learn something that would help me the rest of my life ,,,how to tell goodness from junk, grandfather said anyone can collect junk but only a good man could get junk that could fetch in more money the longer you kept it,and as long as there was no middle men you were safe,he used to always emphasise that one day mankind will realise that the training of children is more important work than religion and politics,I never had much in way of education as my life just seemed to start then it certainly was better than being at school,I loved the smell of old leather and old paper in books and old drawers suppose it reminded me of my grandparents,he taught me on a saturday fill the worm holes in all the old furniture and how to make that old chair look like it was new and not made in 1800s myfather had other plans for me he wanted me to go down coalmines like him and both seemed exciting to a boy of 10, but i couldnt go down mines until i was 15 so i had a long time to go, for a whole year i was tauht many things by my grandad what i have to admit I really enjoyed was driving the horse and cart and going around the streets picking up all the old furnishings etc,,, Saturday was a good day he would give me 2/- and i would get loads of sweets and go off to the Regal cinema we called the Picture house,2/- would get me bet seat in hall, and 3 icecreams and many bags of sweets, and 2 packets of crisps and still have something left for sundays,sunday night would go out with my grandfather and pump the harmonium it was an old american hand harmonium and had handles so we could poush it around the streets, and i would sing with him, and the public that would approch and join in, ''My cups full and running over, My cups full and running over and the Lord saved me i ewas happy as could be my cups full and running over,,was every saturday for a year after that it was one night in February my grandfather said he was feeling a little cold so i fixed the fire in his bedroom, and had a rel big roaring fire going when he called to me and said John go to my box and get my pig skin that was name given to his wee doctors bag, he had got from an old doctor chum of his, he took out his gold watch and chain and his war medals and said he was going on a long journey and I had to watch these till he came back for themso i took and asked why I couldnt go with him as I had gone most other places with him, he said that where he was going wee boys couldnt go but as long as I look after the case and the horse and cart he would come back for them,well I went over to start playing the organ he had in his bedroom asnd i said what shall I play grandad he answered ,,you are my sunshine he said that was my grannys favourite

So I started playing and after I played you are my sunshine I started to played Rowan tree and a few others that him and granny always sung, I started to sing myself as grandad often had me sing him off to sleep somenights and then I would crawl over the back of his bed and cuddle into him,I was singing away when my father and mother entered thge room and they walked to the window and lowered the blackout blind, i stopped and didnt know what was going on, they didnt say anything they just went over beside my grandad and fixed his bedclothes when the door opened and it was old Dr Richmond , I looked at him and said Grandad is ok doctor he is sleeping he asked me to lerave the room and make a cuppa tea, I did and went back into the kitchen, when i was walking out with my grandads cup of tea, the doctor said to me its ok John he told me to tell you to drink it he is away to a far off place,I didnt know what to say they wouldnt let me in the room, and just kept saying that he was gone and would be long time till I saw him again, and then my dad told me where he had gone,i must have cried for weeks it seemed like years and years,but I had great memories I had his watch and chain for a short while but had to give it to my Uncle alex as he was my grandads oldest son he said thats who i had to keep it for, suddenly all hell broke loose was words I heard others saying, they all started to argue who was getting what it was so sad grandad was hardly away and already they were arguing over his bits and pieces,I was luckiest of all I had something they never got I was toldf the secret that not all junk is junk and whats best junk to watch out for .I am in my 50s now and my days with grandad seemed like yesterday and every time I smell old wine and cigars and eat cheese I always think of my trips with my grandad, Not everyone can make junk turn into silver,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,I can,,,,,,,Thanks Grandad,

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