I was only 7 years old when my grandfather Ron Simmons died of prostate cancer. And in that time he taught me vital lessons that will stick with me until I meet him again.
Although my memories are hazy, I’ll do my best to introduce you to him and why he is such an important figure and a few lessons we can all learn from him.
Before he gave life to my mum, he fought in WW2. He was trained paratrooper who fought the Japanese by jumping out of airplanes into hostile territory.
Basically, he’s awesome, and has the medals to prove it. He and his wife never spoke about WW2 and what he did over there because the memories were too painful.
That isn’t important. What is important is he put his life on the line so I could have mine and for that I’m thankful. After WW2 and at the end of the great depression, he, and my grandma settled down and gave birth to my mother.
What He Did For A Living
This is where my memory gets hazy and I’m not sure of the timeline, but both my grandparents travelled around Central Australia before and after I was born running hotels.
Grandad would tend to the bar and grandma was in charge of the kitchen and was a mean dessert cook. Her desserts were fantastic and something my brothers and sisters always looked forward to when we visited them.
But I’m getting off track.
While tending bars, he dealt with the original Australians. These people were forced from their land and killed by the English after Australia was discovered and colonized in 1788. They didn’t trust the white man and a lot of white Australians didn’t really understand or trust them either.
Note- Please understand I’m taking a generalized view.
However, my granddad wasn’t one of those people. Because he dealt with the Aboriginals on a daily basis, often when they were drinking and vulnerable, he gained their trust and this trust went both ways.
Granddad Was Good With His Hands
He built his house with his own hands. and he got help from his Aboriginal friends. He trusted them enough with his own home, and it was nothing to do with their skin color. My grandfather trusted them because they were friends and were good with their hands.
Because of this there was Indigenous art hanging in the house which I would ask questions about. Getting exposed to this at an early age helps me be less weary and more accepting of Australia’s original inhabitants.
When my parents bought their first house, with financial help from my grandparents, he built my brothers and sisters a
- A playground with a slide and a swing
- Cubby House shaped as a Pyramid with all the trimmings
As you can imagine, there was hours of fun spent on all three, thanks to my grandfather.
Father’s Day Got Me Thinking…..
One of my fondest memories of my grandfather was when he squeezed me, and my brother into his little V Dub and brought us down to the local bar where everyone knew him.
He propped me and my brother on a bar stool at the bar and he ordered us both a lemonade. I remember the look of pride he has on his face as he showed off his grand-kids to his friends. It’s something I’ll never forget.
Plus, on his deathbed, he requested to be at home, with his bed facing out into the backyard to admire his work. When my family came to visit, he’d prop me up on his bed and he’d tell me about all the stuff he was going to build me.
He didn’t talk or shed a tear to me about what was happening to him because he knew I didn’t understand. However, he taught me a few lessons which I’m beginning to realize now.
Thanks for reading this far and I’ll finally get to the point of writing this post.
If you and I were a bit more like my grandfather, building friendships that crossed boundaries, sacrificing for his country, putting others before himself and being a devoted husband, father, and grandfather, the world would be in a better place.
Ron Simmons continues to be an example on how I should live my life. To be a better father, better husband, and a better friend. He still serves as a reminder even though he left this earth over 40 years ago.
This wasn’t easy to write and tears were shed. It’s my hope you got something out of this, something to think about and apply to your own life. Happy belated Father’s Day.