Saturday, March 25, 2006

The Great Thaw

Last weekend we travelled to Victoria, BC's provincial capital and playground of the retired. We took lunch with my paternal grandfather and his partner in their Cadboro Bay flat. The menu was quite agreeable and it pleasantly soothed the gastric-intestinal issues stemming from the previous nights debauchery. The conversation was light and scattered with stories from grandfather's younger years. Previosuly unbeknownst to myself, the Cold War appears to have had significant impact on the family's fortunes. Grandfather was naturally endowed with a musical ear and was encouraged by his mother, a teacher of Scottish descent to formally pursue orhestraic music. He became quite accomplished on the classical violin and appeared to be on the brink of making it a professional career. During the war he practised as an instrument technician for the Canadian Air Force - hearing problems had prevented him from becoming a pilot. After the war he resumed his musical career and appears to have been offered a position as orchestra conductor for the Seattle Symphony. These plans were thwarted however when the US government refused to give him the required work visa to due to his brother's associations with Canadian socialist movements. He returned to the Air Force, family in tow, and was eventually stationed in bases overseas where (ironically?) he worked on the above aircraft, the SR71 Blackbird, America's first ultrasonic stealth reconnaissance plane.

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