Norman Hewitt, hunter and farmer

Because it is not just memory, or nostalgia, but actual time travel—the real thing—I am having to ease back into Winnipegland. I’m going to start by offering again some stuff about my grandfather, the farmer and hunter Norman Hewitt, 1889-1960. If you’ve ever driven past Hewitt Lake in Saskatchewan, that was us.

My cousin Sarah once asked if I had much memory of our grandfather, and I surprised myself with what was still there. I answered her thus:

“Yes, I remember him quite well. He was a bit gruff, or maybe just taciturn, but no more intimidating than any man of that age. I spent a week with him and his third wife Hazel at their Carlyle home the summer of 1958, and these are the things he let me do:

  • He let me fetch coal from the cellar, and said I probably wouldn’t enjoy eating it, and to resist the temptation.
  • He let me tidy up the garage and hammer nails into various things I found there.
  • He let me go with him mornings (by car!) the block and a half to Main Street, where he and his cronies, rather than go into the beer parlour or coffee shop, would just park their cars and then circulate, stopping to lean on the hood of this car or that, and chat about who knew what. There were occasional silences that went on for a while till one of them said ‘yep….’. It could’ve have been ‘yip’. Either way, the ritual was daily except Sundays.
  • He let me go with him to the lake for a semi-pro baseball game, complete with hot dog and Orange Crush. And an Oh Henry!
  • He let me pick peas from the garden and eat as many as I liked while doing so.
  • He let me sit at the kitchen table and eat peanut butter cookies while Hazel, who clearly had stepped right out of a Norman Rockwell painting and into his life, baked another batch, plus several loaves of bread and some pies: cherry, rhubarb, pumpkin….
  • He let me sleep in a sleeping bag on the floor next to a pile of empties. When I asked what Seagram’s Rye was, and why all the empties, the answer was ‘Never mind.’

So yes,  I do remember him, in all his gruff and taciturn glory. I never saw him alive again, so I’m glad he let me do all that good stuff when we both had the time.

2 thoughts on “Norman Hewitt, hunter and farmer

  1. kiwikid65

    Thank goodness for Grand parents – both good and bad – sadly both my Grandfathers has passed on – though there is still a lot of speculation about Granddad Stuart who ran out on a wife and three children under 8 – left a lot of damaged children for the rest of their lives – especially my mother – and according to my wife – has left a doubtful legacy to my sister and I….

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s