Editor’s Letter – July 2018

I know that purpose of editor’s letters are to give some welcome to the magazine, maybe draw on some key features and wrap them up with some of insight. This month I will let you find your own way through the magazine while I use the space as a dedication to someone who means something very much to me – my grandfather. He reads the magazine still so I figure it’s a good way to combine two things. When I was growing up he was the one of the strongest figures in my life. He taught me how to catch a fish, gut a fish and smoke a fish. He taught me how to build things out of wood and metal. He even showed me how to construct a welder out of old industrial transformers. Not something that I imagine showing a 12 year-old how to do these days. But grandad was from another time and another world. As a Dutch immigrant that arrived here just after the war, he was from a time that had an entirely different benchmark for struggling and “making do.” Rather than complaining or giving up because things were too hard, he found a way to make things work. In spite of the hurdles, a foreign land without family support, a racist immigration environment and little money, he and his wife carved out a wonderful life here and raised three wonderful children and many wonderful grandchildren. It wasn’t a 10x course by Tim Ferriss or some motivational tapes by Tony Robbins that got him through. There was just no other choice. He had to rely on ingenuity, tenacity and simple hard work to survive. While lessons around fishing and welding are important, his quiet, uncomplaining ownership of the responsibility to look after his family was the biggest lesson of all. While he is the strongest man I know, there is one thing that is still more unstoppable than him – time. A couple of weeks ago my grandfather took me for a tour of his rest home. For the first time in my life I became conscious of a fragility and frailness that I had never seen before. While he once had me struggling to keep up with him on long hikes, he now shuffled in pain and supported by a frame. The once long conversations we shared about my future are now near impossible because of his hearing. Time has a lot to answer for. Even still, we walked side by side in silent understanding – sharing the moment in total comprehension. We arrived at the TV room which was tuned to a 70s British show being watched by a few residents. They stared, muted through the canned laughter. I got the sad feeling that they were just waiting for the day to be over. My grandad turned to me at the moment and said, “We all end up here sooner than you think. Please make the most of your life, every day.” Even if he could have heard me, I didn’t have the words at that moment to give an appropriate response. I probably still don’t but seeing as he still reads this magazine, I’ll take the opportunity to leave him a note…

Thank you for everything. You are still the strongest man I know and I am still learning from you.