Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Vale Wally

Today I went to the funeral of someone who, although not a blood relative, had been part of my family for over 60 years.

Following a lifelong love of horses, Wally got a job working on my grandfather's farm in his teens. He went on to be one of his milk men, traversing the streets with a clydesdale named Mickey and his milk cart, eventually becoming one of the last in the metropolitan area to do so. I heard today in his eulogy that he would often have a cup of tea with his customers and at the end of his rounds, he would go to the deli and buy Mickey a cake. There was a touching moment when the celebrant read out a fax from a former customer, who was just a boy when Wally did his round. He had read about Wally's passing in the paper and felt moved to show his respects, so he faxed the story of how he would wake up early and wait out the front firstly so he could pat Mickey, but also so he could run out his family's bottles so Wally wouldn't have to get off the cart and Wally would give him a couple of shillings for his help. Isn't it funny how how some people stay in your memory like that.

Image via here

After my grandfather died, Wally stayed on with my Nanna, choosing to live in a caravan at the back of her place until he fell and had to have a hip replacement. It was only after this that he accepted that he would have to move inside the house.

He lived his life simply and the way he wanted. He loved Cowboy novels and sport on the wireless. He apparently never had any obvious girlfriends, no children of his own and chose his friends carefully and sparingly, but to us grandkids he was always kind, gentle and quite the teaser. The celebrant kept referring to Wally as a character and I guess I never really thought of him that way. I thought every family had a Wally. I will miss his ready smile and cheeky jokes and I have the greatest appreciation for the loyalty he showed to my family.

Rest in Peace Wally.

1 comment:

Kimberlee said...

I've got goose bumps. beautiful story pip x