Here is an excerpt from the above story by the author’s son in At the Table, Nourishing Conversation & Food, published by Penumbra Press:
I missed my Grandfather Pointing’s funeral. I fact, I didn’t find out he had died until several weeks afterwards. I was off tree-planting in northern Alberta several hours from the nearest phone. I’m okay with it, though. He wasn’t a particularly sentimental person. It’s not like he would have been offended by my absence. Some would say he was a tough, cold, stiff upper-lip Brit. But there was more to him than that…
Every year on his birthday Grandpa visits us in Windsor. He brings European chocolate bars with fancy fillings. One time he brings me a model airplane that he has built himself. We spend the whole weekend in the field of Princess Anne School perfecting it’s flight. It is a serious project. After all, he was an RAF pilot in the First World War. Hard as shrapnel. I am scared to death of crashing that plane.
On his eightieth birthday we have a special party: a big cake, photo albums, a ceremony, games–and drugs.
Grandpa loves walking our dog. An early riser, he takes Rocky for long strolls before the rest of us are up. On the morning of his birthday, he and Rocky happen to stumble across three joints lying on the sidewalk. Now, being pretty with it for his age, Grandpa knows what he has come upon and doesn’t hesitate to pick up the spliffs and slip them into his breast pocket.
He shows up at the breakfast table with a smug look on his face. When Mom asks what is up, he ceremoniously lays the joints on the table. “I know what these are,” he says, “and by God, I’m smoking them…
Grandpa has decided he will smoke the joints that night. My parents insist that they be there in case he starts freaking out. My sister Deb and I will be off to bed before being exposed to any illicit activity. Karen has a date set for after dinner, so there is no risk of her having to deal with the psychological impact of seeing her eighty-year-old grandfather all goofed up on skunk weed.
Needless to say, Grandpa’s anticipation of the evening’s events lends a truly festive tone to the afternoon’s birthday activities. I think he sees himself as a real outlaw. A badass risk-taker. The RAF pilot of old. He tears into his gifts with real vigour, plays birthday games with a new-found youthfulness. Later, he practically races through dinner.
Shortly into the birthday cake, Karen’s date arrives…
I was not there to appreciate the events that unfolded later that evening around the stroke of midnight. I have only Karen’s account of the horror she experienced when she and Glen opened the door to a waft of sweet-smelling blue smoke, and the image of our eighty-year-old grandfather, halfway through joint number three, leaning back in his chair at the dining-room table giggling happily to himself.
The recipe that accompanies this story is for chocolate brownies. It does not include marijuana, but the brownies are certainly munchy!