One of my earliest memories of my grand father was making paper airplanes with our cousins at his home on the family farm in Nova Scotia. After we'd made planes he explained how air plane wings work to create lift by slowing down the air flow over the wing decreasing air pressure over the wing and thus creating lift from below. It was heady stuff, I think I was four or five.
Like the time he got a group of soldiers off base for the night, by marching them out the front gate announcing to the guard that they were a work detail and flashing a laundry ticket at proof.
Or the time he had delivered a plane to Italy during what would have been harvest time, and there were ripe grapes beside the make shift air field. So he emptied the ammo compartment for one of his guns and filled it with grapes. Returning to Egypt with fresh grapes made him quite popular for a couple of weeks.
As we got older the more serious stories were shared, such as the fact that the first two weeks you where on the front, no one wanted to know you. New pilots only had a 50% chance of surviving the fist two weeks.
My grandfather came to talk to my grade 11 Honours History class on the Battle of El Alamein. He held the students full attention for the entire period. Afterwords a number expressed to me their surprise at how cool my grandfather was.
In the 80s the Nova Scotia Government wanted to find a way to automate blueberry harvesting. And asked the farmers to try a prototype. The prototype mimicked the way people rake blueberries lifting forward from the ground. But the machine couldn't avoid rocks and logs the way people do and would get caught. So my grand father proposed that they reverse the motion so the it would roll over obstacles. The engineers told Grampy that it wouldn't work. So he built his own working prototype to prove that it would.
My Grampy: RAF fighter pilot, farmer, inventor, story teller, father & Grand Father.
See you on the other side Grampy.