My Pa Taylor, my great-grandfather, was a very special person.
There are two things we all remember him by: his heart for Jesus, and his love of storytelling. In a way, there was no wonder why he was such a great storyteller, as he loved the Great Storyteller so much.
He always had a story to tell us- sometimes we heard a story more than once, but that didn’t matter too much, as he had a fantastic way of telling it so well you forgot you knew the ending. It would often be around the dinner table, where we would hear stories of his growing up, his work, his heritage.
All his stories were extremely long, but he was a master at making them exciting still. Maybe he exaggerated, maybe his life was just super thrilling- both probably.
For my family, there was one story he told us that we all agree was one of his finest in perfecting dramatic tension. He and my Granny had flown up from Brisbane to visit us, and we were loving spending the time with them; time we didn’t usually get, living so far from them. We were going to have dinner on the beach, but we cancelled when it started to rain. And so, we were stuck in their hotel room. As was his nature, Pa began to tell us a story, of his uncle. When he would go to visit him, every time when he was leaving, his uncle would reach into his pocket and pull out some sort of treat or trinket for him, saying “just a little something”. At this point in the story, Pa was fumbling around in his pocket, but I don’t think any of us noticed. When he finished the story, he pulled out his hand, and turned to Granny. “Well, love. Just a little something.” And he put a little pouch in her hand. It was a beautiful pearl necklace, that he had slipped out to buy earlier.
It was such a special moment. We all knew how much Pa loved Granny, and that expression of his love for her was so beautiful. We were all surprised, and delighted at such a great climax to the story. It became a really fun memory for us all.
Pa had a passion for researching his heritage; going back to Scotland, where his father was from, and doing a lot of “digging”, to produce a book. He wanted us, his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, to be “not as ill informed as I have been about… our forebears”. He regretted that he had not payed very close attention when his grandfather and father told him stories of “life in the ‘Old Land'”, and so, felt the responsibility to ensure we were aware of our history.
On this note, I wish I had payed closer attention when Pa told us stories. I wasn’t always listening very carefully, and so probably missed out on a lot. Though I guess that was why he wrote his book; he probably guessed we would often make the same mistake he did, in not paying attention to the stories. I am grateful that he wrote them down, so they wouldn’t be lost because of these mistakes.
He titled his book “A Tale From Two Countries”, and it is brimming with stories, told in the exact same style as he would out loud. In it, he told stories of his grandfather’s (George Taylor) family and life in Scotland, and of his own life. He also talks about the family clan, Clan Taylor, which descended from a warrior from Clan Cameron. He then went on to tell three stories from Scottish history his father used to tell him; of Glencoe, William Wallace, and Robert the Bruce. At the end of the book, there is a very detailed family tree (which made my sister’s family tree assignment one year look extremely impressive!)
I miss Pa. It is strange visiting Granny without him sitting beside her. It’s been over a year since he passed away, but I don’t think it will ever feel like he’s completely gone, or has stopped telling his legendary stories.
I wish I could have known him better; I would have loved to have talked with him more now that I am older. He was an amazing man, we all loved him very much. He was a great storyteller. And we all knew he loved us dearly, and he loved Jesus above all else.
I think of what he wrote at the end of his book:
“The End? By no means- this story will go on and on until God sees fit to bring it to an end!
In the meantime, may we, my dear children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and however many generations that follow, be “found faithful” to the very end!”A Tale From Two Countries, by George “Bruce” Taylor