Sunday, February 3, 2008

Listening to Music

I grew up often hearing the sounds of my dad's guitar as he was doing an arrangement of one of his songs, or of some of the old classic folk songs which he had collected.

Because of that, I have an inbred affinity for guitar music. I absolutely love it! Perhaps all those hours of hearing him had something to do with that!

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The Halifax Explosion Song Written by Daniel MacIntyre

Honouring the Life of Charles Wesley Pedley

Honouring the life of Charles Wesley Pedley, My Dad, a grandfather, a great-grandfather after his death.

What do I say about my dad?

He was from that old English stock, a gentleman, a blind man who learned to be cheerful and happy in spite of becoming blind, a musician, a composer. a wise man, a father who had no father, well at least not after his 11th birthday when the Halifax Explosion took him.

He did not talk much about his personal feelings. That was a characteristic of the age he grew up in. I do not ever remember him saying that he loved me. I don't remember him hugging me. I had to start those two things with him as I grew older and longed to hug my dad.

It is not that he didn't love me or my sister, Sylvia Wiens. He did. You could tell that by his other actions. But he lived without a father-example, he became a man in an age of revealing personal feelings as perhaps being weakness. And as a parent, you COULD NOT be weak.

I loved him, admired him but I just didn't know him on a personal level until he was dying of oesophagical cancer when he said, as I watched over him, "They are all dead now." I asked. "Who?" "All my old friends like Joe Wilson, and Harry Lowrey" (the farmer on whose farm my dad worked and the man who treated him like a son I am told) in Eastern Ontario.

Then he said, the most revealing thing, that even my mother who is 92 as of March 29, 2010 said, she had not known until I told her. He said, "I prayed for them, every day!"

For my nieces and nephews on my sister's side of the family, he was the only grandfather they had ever known and they loved his cheerful sense of humour. My sister's husband, Ted Wiens lost his father when he was young [??], and he grew up I guess much the same way but in a different age.

The picture here is probably my dad's most cherished memory and perhaps the highlight of his folk music career. He got to write the official ballad of Niagara-On-The-Lake's Bicentennial, [included later] AND got to sing it for the Queen Mother!

She shook his hand and he told my mother, "I'm not going to wash it for a week!" He was a monarchist. A historian. A man of passion under control. A Christian. A man who learned to cope so well with his blindness, that when someone explained something to him, he would say, "I see!"

He became a comfort and source of cheer to another blind man, in Niagara on the Lake, Mr. Jones, I believe.

Without knowing it, on a subconscious level, because he was always so healthy, his cancer sneaked up on us. I took him too much for granted. He got sick and passed away, in 1989, January, a few short months after seeing his oldest granddaughter, my daughter, Ann get married to Jon Guinn of Attleboro, Massachusetts. [It is so hard to say 'died' for some reason, maybe because we want to hold on to his memories as all that is left of this humble but accomplished man!].

Suddenly I thought of the times I had neglected phoning him, of visiting him. I resolved NEVER to do that again and let my mother be so alone. But I had regrets for some time that I had to deal with because of my neglect of him.

So if you are reading this, please do not neglect your parents, your mom and dad. They will not always be with you. I don't want you to have the regrets that I had to deal with for some time.

And now it is time to celebrate his life!

The life of Charles Wesley Pedley, MUI

[My dad had to go to work when he was 16 because of losing his father, so he never completed high school and of course, not any college. But he knew all kinds of stuff and he used to joke that he had his MUI. "Master of Useless Information"]

-Charles G. Pedley, the son
-For Sylvia Wiens, his daughter
-For Lilian Pedley, in 2010, in her 92nd year in March!
-For And all the grandchildren and great grandchildren that he never got to know and who never got to know him.

-I hope some others will contribute memories of dad, or grandpa as well. His oldest grandchildren were perhaps just pre-teens. Therefore they do not have many memories except the ones I mentioned about him having a very good humour about his blindness.

Halifax Explosion Actual Video

Explosion 1917: Explosion Now! 2000's

Halifax 1917: Shattered City

Halifax Explosion: Where My Dad Lost HIS Dad 1917

Halifax Explosion: Where My Dad Lost HIS Dad 1917