Afi. He was a Fisherman on Lake Winnipeg.
When I think of Afi, I think of catfish, cribbage, children, and Christmas.
Afi was all about focusing on priorities.
When he faced a pandemic, I suspect that he did what he had always done.
He would listen, make decisions, and take action to care for his family. Then he would fix his nets, push his skiff out onto the lake, and fish.
Amma focused on her priorities too. But, instead of fishing would prepare for the abundance of fish on the way to her. She would fire up the stove, make bread and healthy nutritious meals, and of course some Vinarterta, and other baked treats as a gift of love.
I’m thinking about our family members and friends who have faced enormous challenges in the past. Including, like us, the imminent potential of terrible illness in their communities. It is the teachings of our elders who can lead us to health and safety if we listen.
I remember stories of my Afi as the guy who returned from WW1, unharmed, only to lose a leg to a hunting accident at home. And yet, he raised nine children, first as a Dairy Farmer, then as a Fisherman. Mighty Lake Winnipeg was a familiar and reassuring resource, unlike any other, for those indomitable Icelanders in New Iceland.
Afi’s house and family, and his life on the water, and the ice, were the most important things to him.
Afi was strong, confident, and unshakable. He moved in alignment with what he believed to be good. His quiet reserved, straightforward, hardworking approach brought him into balance with his ancestors, his wife, children, and the lake.
I can still hear Afi humming, with his voice low, and see his prosthetic leg stretched out, as he worked on his nets from the stool beside the mink shed.
It was the same place he shared his skill of fileting a Catfish with me before we went into the house to play Cribbage.
It was the same place he drilled holes in a spruce tree trunk to add more branches to make the Christmas tree fluffy and full.
Afi saw perfection in catfish, cribbage, children, and Christmas.
Every day, he ate a good breakfast. Set out his nets. Brought them in. Never retired. Made commitments. And kept them.
He loved everything about us always, unconditionally. Just as I love you.
Because 2020. Magnificence. No Matter What.