Every time I drive down Mackay Street in Ottawa I think of my great-grandfather. He was a blacksmith by trade and I am proud to say that he helped build the fence at the Governor’s General-a real achievement.
However, my great-grandfather had a dark side. He gambled playing cards. In fact, my great-grandmother told him that if his gambling continued he would assuredly meet the Devil himself!
One night after a hard game of poker with the boys, my great-grandfather headed home. He always took a short cut through Beechwood Cemetery. As he walked, he thought he could see his neighbour’s Doberman approaching. He called out to the dog but the dog continued to approach barking angrily at him. Suddenly, my great-grandfather saw two Dobermans, side-by-side. He was convinced the Devil had paid him a visit. He backed away and took the long way home running as fast as he could. Once safely in the door, but out of breath, my great-grandmother could see in his eyes that the Devil had passed. She hoped it would cure him of his addiction. The warning didn’t work. He continued to play cards.
Several years later, the Devil knocked on the door again; this time with a more devastating message. While my great-grandfather gambled the night away with his buddies, my great-grandmother was home minding her very sick child who was suffering from pneumonia. As the evening wore on, the small child became sicker and sicker and there were no signs of a husband. Sadly, time ran out and the small lifeless child lay in its mother’s arms. When my great-grandfather arrived in the doorway, my great-mother threw the baby in his arms.
This is punishment for your sinsâ€, she wailed.` You have become the Devil`.
This woman of God had fallen in love with a man with flaws. She lived in fear of losing it all and that night she felt as if she had.
I can’t begin to imagine the death of a child. I’m not sure I could go on.
My great-grandparents have long passed and they remain in my prayers. I believe that they watch over me and keep me safe.
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Story by Joanne
Edited by Karen C.