Ray Smart - 11 July 1928 - 9 July 2009



My Grandad died last week. He wanted to. He’d had enough. He wasn’t well, he missed my Nan who went about 8 years ago and the Emphysema had taken its toll on his body.

I was lucky enough to be raised by my Grandparents. My Mother passed in 1986 after a particularly bad asthma attack. My step father remarried a woman who had kids of her own and they made it clear that there wasn’t a place in that family for me so off I went.

Ray Smart was always in the garage making stuff for us kids and he was first to arrive to help out if something needed doing at anyone else’s house. Being allowed to mow his lawn was a big deal and if he called us by our given names, we were in trouble. He called a spade a spade and you always knew where you stood.

I remember once an old teacher of mine was trying to sell me Amway so he went to the phone, dialed 137 to make it ring, picked it up, had an imaginary conversation with no-one, told me I had to take the call and booted the guy out. He always had his family’s back.

He loved his cars. I remember once Nan crashed the Holden into the corner of the garage, she tried to get it fixed before he got home but somehow he knew what she’d done before he got home. To be allowed to drive Grandad’s car was an honor and a privilege. I crashed his Bluebird when I was 21, it was 8 years until he let me near it again.

He was big on his Sunday drives, whether we were checking out new subdivisions, pointing out houses he’d built years ago, getting ice creams, whitebait or mushrooms. Grandad had an uncanny ability to spot a mushroom 3 fields over and thought nothing of stopping the car, climbing 3 fences and walking a mile to get it. He didn’t give a stuff whose field it was, those mushrooms were coming home with us.

Last Friday, I was quietly clearing out his room at his retirement village and all the staff wanted to stop me and say how fond of him they were.

I truly believe that going into care added almost another 2 years onto his life. He was warm, fed and he had company. He had cups of tea whenever he wanted it and his secret supply of beer as well. He gave as good as he got with the nurses and loved it when they gave it back. He decided to name one of the staff 4 foot 11. That was his name for her. She swears she’s 5 foot tall but he wouldn’t have a bar of it. I overheard one of the inmates telling a staff member how much quieter it was without him puffing away, she said she missed it.

For as long as I can remember, the first thing my Grandfather did when he got the paper each day was check the death notices to see if he was still alive.

He’s finally made it in there and he’s now back together with Nan.

9 comments:

  1. What an amazing tribute to your grandad smarty. Truly brought a tear to my eye. Kaz and I are both thinking of you.

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  2. Sorry for your loss Smarty. Hope your holding up ok bud. si

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  3. CourtenayJuly 15, 2009

    sorry to hear that Smartypants - I know how close to him you were. Thinking of you mate xoxoxoxo

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  4. Sorry about the loss
    Love to you and all your family xx

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  5. Sorry to hear mate, big love to ya

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  6. Sorry to hear that you've lost your Grandad...but glad to hear he's back at your Nan's side...sounds like that's where he's happiest! My thoughts are with you.

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  7. I love reading all your blogs Dave, funny or sad, have to say though that one brought a tear to my eye. Love to you all. xx

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  8. Another big hug 4 u! That made me shed a tear! Hard 2 let go of such a great man huh! At peace now 2 watch over u! xx

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  9. yeah have to admit you do have the gift of the gab - just like your mum did before you - xx

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