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Memories of Adrian

Reverend Colin Green

The family has asked that we take time this afternoon should there be anyone here who would like to say a few words about Adrian. The word eulogy or eulogize means to speak well of. There’s an old saying that you can’t believe a man who speaks well of himself, but you can always believe others when they speak well of him. And so if you have a story that you would like to tell, or a thought or just something you would like to say, we would like you to feel free to say it now.

Eugene Elm
Thank you Colin.

There’s a lot of good memories.

Adrian, my brother, was seven years older than me. And so he was a big brother. I can remember one time; well… let’s go back…. He was a thinker just like Collin said. And he’d figure things out. One time, when he was going to school he’d ride a pony. He took a rat trap, which is like a big mouse trap, and an alarm clock and a piece of string, and set it up to go off at 5:00 in the morning, the alarm clock when it went off tripped the trap, snapped the string and let the bundle of hay down, and so Prince had his breakfast. Adrian wouldn’t have to get up really early.

In 1945, I don’t remember this, I was reading grandma’s diary, and she wrote, on December 1, 1945, Adrian turned the lights on. Adrian had sent away to Princess Auto and got a generator. He and dad hooked it up to an air cooled engine and they wired it to the house and we had lights. At that time grandma was living with us and she made note of this in her diary which I have a copy of at home. I can remember also that grandma ordered up books of the New Testament, and she handed those out to Adrian and I. You can see where our faith originated. It was the example of our parents and grandparents.

I can remember when I was little, I was with Adrian when the big door slammed open and hit me. He carried me into the house, .. you know that’s what big brothers do.

Also there was an accident one time. When we were grinding meat, well, my brother was, and I was curious. I pushed the meat into the little holes on the side of the meat grinder and it started to hurt. Just the experiences from when we were young.

It’s no wonder he became an electrician, him being 15 years and three months when grandma wrote he turned the lights on in the old farm house.

Danielle Fenske
My history has been thoroughly blessed by this great man, and the chance to share with him many engaging conversations.

I’ll never forget how important and special it made me feel the first time he looked down at me and said, “Well, Kid, let’s go get some breakfast.” These times were spent discussing the events of the day, talking technological gadgets, pondering life’s idiosyncrasies, or just simply chatting.

One such time stands out vividly for me.

We took a trip to Hardisty in May of 2008 for his cousin Stan’s ninetieth birthday. We hit the road early, and arrived just in time to take part in a homestead tour. The first stop was one with such meaning that I felt suddenly unprepared for the trip down this dusty memory lane. It was the Elm homestead - where Grandpa had lived and grown. The plot of land was outlined by the trees that had once sheltered the bustling yard site, and now, the only remaining indication of human habitation were the raised lines of earth that marked the foundation of the old farmhouse. I stood trying to imagine the layout of the yard as Grandpa caught my eye. He was wading into waist deep grass and weeds. With his back to me, he leaned down and reached for something on the ground, and he picked up the object of his attention and turned to me. As he walked closer, I could see that his treasure was a single stalk of rhubarb.

He approached me with a look of such excitement - he had remembered where his mother’s rhubarb had grown. And it was still thriving! I was hit with a feeling of such awe that my breath was momentarily taken away. I was standing in a place with such rich history, a place that had witnessed an incredible array of life-changing moments, and simple interactions between members of a family – my family. The trees surrounding us had sheltered the evolution of the generations that had gone before. I realized that if I felt this way, Grandpa must be feeling it a hundred fold. The stalk of rhubarb was an item that represented his absolute reverence for this place. A place that had born layers of life and all that comes with it. He held that stalk with a careful and gentle hand, and I knew that he was looking for something to take home from the place that was once his home.

We embarked on the remainder of the tour, and Grandpa carefully tucked the stalk away. The rest of the afternoon was filled with singing, visiting and laughter.

By the time we got in the car to make the trip home, the stalk of rhubarb was wilted and soft. I sensed that he was considering the necessity of his souvenir and had realized that after all it was a mere stalk of fibrous fruit. He did not need it to recall and honour the treasured memories that the day had brought back to life. They were a part of him. They made up the man he was.

And much the same, my memories of him are his legacy.

His quiet wisdom. His concise assertions. His subtle guidance. His patient attention.

These things are a part of me. They are what I strive to be.

All that Grandpa imparted to me will be held close to my heart, just as everything the rhubarb represented was close to his. I will be forever grateful to have had the presence of this great man in my life.

Debra Elm
I have a story that nicely follows Dani’s memories. Dad had pictures of that reunion. He surprised everyone walking on the sidewalk by my front yard with those pictures. He said “hi” and then shows them the pictures, so my neighbors got a good report of that reunion. I see some of those in the pictures here today and I thank you for coming. Another memory I have is with regards to his creativity. I was having trouble getting up so he got a timer and hooked the vacuum cleaner to it. I can’t remember if the hose sucked or blew, but, I know the vacuum made a horrible noise and I put a quick end to that.

Terry Merriman
The year was 1980 and Adrian and I and some of the fellows were working at Forestburg. For years I had been going on a goose hunt and that fall I talked Adrian in going on a goose hunt. Adrian volunteered his motor home for the hunt. Four of us went on the hunt down south. They were good memories with a lot of fun and hearty laughter.

Ian Elm
Gramps was definitely a man who liked to pay attention to detail and had one of those personalities that everything had to be perfect. One time he got a command start. I’m a mechanic so he asked me which one to get and then he did a lot of research. He knew more about command starts than I did by the time he had done the research. He asked me to put it in his car. He was looking over my shoulder during the whole installation. He asked that much of the installation be double checked to the point that what should have taken a few hours took a couple of days. The extra time was required so that it met grandpa’s criteria. He definitely had an eye for detail and wanted everything to be perfect.

I just loved his subtle sense of humour where he would say things under his breath and if you weren’t paying attention you wouldn’t get it. It was quite a sense of humor. Sometimes he would make fun of something or somebody and lots of his jokes went over people’s heads. He was definitely a funny guy.

In regards to that attention to detail and the fact that he liked everything to be perfect, well, I would like to ask him right now, “Gramps, how are things right now?” I’ll bet you they’re perfect.

Angela Guild
My Grandpa was so smart. I think he’s the smartest guy I’ve ever known. My sister was saying goodbye to him, because she was leaving for college and was not able to come back. The day she had to say goodbye to him was very hard because it was the day that he found out that he only had a few weeks left, and it was a really rough good bye. When she was saying goodbye she told him she was going to go to school. He said, “So, you’re going to learn stuff?” And she said, “Yes. I am going to be smart like you.” He patted her on the hand and said, “OK, you try that.” (laughs) He was so smart!!

Reverend Colin Green
As I said, if a man speaks well of himself, you really don’t know what you’re listening to, but when other people can speak well of a man, it says a lot and it’s usually extremely accurate, and well deserved. I think you’ve all brought a very colorful picture of Adrian to us today. Thank you.