Gerry Gordon, my maternal Grandfather, died last Sunday, and I spent this past weekend on Manitoulin Island for the funeral. It is never possible to sum up a human life in a few words, especially not when that life has been well lived, but I offer these few words even so.
Grandpa Gordon did not condescend to be merely great. In a world that measures greatness in money and possessions and titles and accomplishments, in a world where most of us are counted failures by these standards, he chose a different standard, chose to pursue goodness rather than greatness. I remember him as the one who cooked countless summer breakfasts for my brothers and I, almost always bacon and eggs prepared in so much grease that they would shock nutritionists into heart attacks of their own. I remember him as the one who supplied us with endless packs of Viva Puffs, the one who made campfires in the evenings, the one who drove me to vote for the first time, the one who made grilled cheese sandwiches for us on the worksite almost every day of my summer working in Saskatoon. I remember him as someone who was always willing to listen to us, even from the earliest age, as if we were worth listening to, as someone who never had something better to do than spend time with us.
In these and in so many other ways, he was always a good man rather than a merely great one. He was one of the few men about whom it would be sufficient to say, “He loved God. He loved his family. He loved others as he loved himself.” I only hope that something of this kind might someday be said of me.