I’m sure everybody, or at least most people, have lost a loved one to an illness, particularly cancer. This post may relate to those who have their own fond memories of that loved one. Recently the family and I sadly lost Jack Crandon, my uncle, to cancer. As much as I will miss him and am sad that I didn’t get to see him more often, I am just so grateful that I have some wonderful and funny memories of him, which to this day make me laugh out loud. Whilst being in Cyprus at the moment, I couldn’t help but think of the 7 fabulous days I once spent with him in our Ayia Thekla home. It was around 2008 kinda time when I spent a week getting to know him and laughing non stop. My best memories of him took place on that holiday and I thought I’d share a few stories in his memory…
5. When he spoke perfect Greek.
If any of you read my last blog “AYIA NAPA…The Other Side” then you’ll know that one of my favourite restaurants in Cyprus is the Demetrion Fish Restaurant in Potamos, which was also one of Jack’s faves. Jack had perfect comedic timing. So much so that he was even funny when he didn’t mean to be. The Demetrion Restaurant is run by a lovely family who at the time had just welcomed a new baby boy into their lives. At this point the boy was toddler and was introduced to my family. Jack, just trying to be friendly was waving to the young boy, saying in a high-pitched voice, “Hola, hola…holaaaaa.” The boy stared blankly at him. When Jack turned to us and said, “Why isn’t he answering me?” we reminded him that the child was Greek, not Spanish. We all found it so funny, especially Jack.
4. His lap of honour.
Everyday we would sit outside at the garden table and play cards. We’d just sit and play all day everyday and he ALWAYS won. Not only would he win, but he would insist on doing a victory run every time. Jack, being nearly 70 at the time, would jog around the table and do his lap of honour. And then he’d go again. And again. And again. Milking every ounce of his victory.
3. When taught me how to win card games.
Not only did Jack always win at cards, but I would always lose out of everybody. I couldn’t understand what I was doing wrong so on the next round Jack sat me on his lap and taught me all his secrets to winning. As the game was going on he’d mutter a running commentary to me giving me all his winning secrets. Now I’m an expert.
2. When he stuck the landing.
If we weren’t playing cards then my brother and I would be in the pool and Jack would sit in his chair observing and cracking jokes. Except for one particular day. Me and my brother were in the pool again with my dad, just after a long card game, when out of nowhere Jack comes running over in his trunks and cannonballs into the pool. Might I remind you again that he was nearly 70 at the time. He did a pretty good job, except for the landing. He landed right on the slope where the pool goes from shallow to deep. You know when you see someone ice skating and they’re about to fall over but there’s that good 10 seconds worth of them swinging their arms around trying to save themselves, that was Jack in the pool. Legs and arms akimbo, water splashing everywhere, the occasional swear word here and there. After a good 15 seconds AT LEAST, Jack finally found his balance. And when he did he turned around a said, “Cor, you never told me there was a slope there, I nearly drowned!”
1. Beetle gate.
This is my favourite. Again we were playing cards, I was just starting to get good with my new tricks I’d learnt, and this time it was just me and Jack. My mum was sitting close by reading a book in the sun. So there’s me sitting opposite Jack, looking at the hand I’d been dealt, when I heard this buzzing sound. Jack says, “What’s that noise?” I looked up and screamed when I saw the BIGGEST flying beetle sitting on top of Jack’s head. It was honestly the biggest beetle I’ve ever seen. I’m screaming, Jack’s saying, “Is there something on my head?” My mum says, “DON’T MOVE,” as she grabs the nearest thing to flick the beetle away from Jack’s head, which just so happened to be her hard-back cover book. After a gigantic beetle and a hard-back book to the head, Jack just sat there cool as a cucumber and completely unphased. He was hardcore like that. From then on whenever I saw Jack he’d greet me with a fake, plastic beetle on his head.
It was a great holiday that I cherish, where I saw Jack as more of a grandad as opposed to an uncle.
He died on my birthday last year, 29th November 2016. I was told the day after because my family didn’t want to ruin my day or upset me. But really I feel the complete the opposite. I’m actually proud that he died on my birthday because I always had a special place in my heart for Jack and the fact that the day of his death is shared with the day of my birth, it makes me feel connected to him in some kind of weird, spiritual way. I mean he went out on my 21st, that’s just class.
People come and go from our lives but the memories last a lifetime. And everybody remembers a loved one in their own special way. I will always remember Jack over a glass of red, thinking and laughing about these treasured memories.
If you would like to see an unseen video of me singing one of Jack’s favourite songs, then click here.
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