Yesterday I was deeply saddened to learn the nonagenarian grandmother of my good friend (Samantha) had passed away. As would be expected, the granddaughter grief stricken when delivering her stark news via telephone.

Sam’s forebear Brenda spent ninety plus years wandering this vale of tears. Those four score and ten plus summers played out around Lancashire mill towns. An at times impoverished life manifesting dogged and stoic behavioural traits, affording her incalculable spirit, resolve, mental strength and strong fortitude when darker episodes came knocking.

She was a lady who bequeathed her daughter’s progeny a legacy of love, memories and jovial yarns. Episodes ensuring the nonagenarian will live on through a granddaughter who possesses similar wonderful qualities, such as stoicism, compassion, love and thoughtfulness.

This legacy including old anecdotes of yore handed down her bloodline, ensuring her life won’t just be remembered by a series of dates (such as birth, death and wedding)…… No, existential episodes will also be bequeathed to future generations and their acquaintances.

Legendary yarns ensuring folklore in maintained by kith and kin; affording future generations the wherewithal to preserve and cascade their forefather’s legacy. Stories which, in some cases maybe embellished to augment the tale, nevertheless worthy of a retell as a bunch of genuinely funny tales you long to be true.

Although only meeting Brenda once, during her later years, over the duration of our acquaintance, Samantha’s disclosed numerous tales relating to her eccentric, resilient and idiosyncratic nan. A character, like her granddaughter and me, born and raised in a working class northern English environment.

Amongst these disclosures a whizzbang account of her grandmother once owning a cat with a habit of defecating in her slippers. Other revelations disclosed included bulletins of Ken Loachian kitchen sink dramas such as, when a mother to young kids, undertaking shoe repairs with concrete; not to mention owning a dog which committed suicide.

Tales which, although portraying life’s ingrained starkness for many 20th century’s working class folk, are underpinned with the humour borne from that adversity. On hearing these vignettes from the top of her anecdotal iceberg it’s hard not to conclude, though, Brenda wasn’t overly fortuitous her choice of pets.

The fixing of a shoe with concrete during impoverished times particularly tickling my funny bone. In particular the revelation her chosen repair material being so weighty and cumbersome the quirky lady had problems manoeuvring her shoe whilst wearing the footwear post-fix. 

The anecdote relating to the dog taking it’s own life was apparently a consequence of depression following the death of the old ladies long-term husband. In the absence of emotional support groups like (say) canine Samaritans to counsel the mutt, it appear a loss of his beloved owner was just too big a burden to bear.

Of course there’s no way of proving 100% that the dog was depressed. However waiting until a car drove along his street before walking into the road is a fairly good indication all was not well mental health wise.

It has to be said, the cat undertaking its business in the old lady’s slipper left me with more questions than answers. …….. The main one being “What the f***?!”

Footnote – Incidentally, when I say the moggy did it’s business in the nan’s slipper I’m of course referring to it’s bowels being emptyied within the indoor footwear. Not it’d held clandestine meetings in the domestic footwear to peddle narcotics.  

Yes, Brenda suffered from dreadful misfortune when it comes to domestic pets and footwear. However, she leaves my dear friend and the rest of her brood with a plethora of highly entertaining stories they’ll be able to dine out on for years.

Folk tales which they themselves can pass on to further generations…… A wonderful legacy!!

RIP Brenda

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