As a recipient of many, many boring videos from Grandpa, I’m so grateful he and Grandma now have armadillos in their yard. Grandpa retired about five years ago. It almost drove him crazy, and it almost made Grandma homicidal. Grandpa is the kind of guy who just wasn’t cut out for retired life. He needs to always have a project, a hobby, ways of filling up the hours of every day. He was born towards the end of the Great Depression, and his parents were extremely hard working, frugal people. So, that’s how he grew up. He worked hard his whole life, threw himself into whatever he did. He was an engineer who helped build water systems for cities, pipelines and dams. Even though he had a demanding job, he would come home and spend hours working in the shed, tinkering around with one thing or another.
He didn’t want to retire, either. But, Grandma was tired of moving around from city to city every few years when an engineering project was complete. She wanted to live near her grandkids. So, after a few years of back and forth between the two of them, he retired. His eyesight had already started to fail him, so tinkering around in the shed or work room became more and more difficult. He drifted aimlessly around the house, getting in Grandma’s way, and starting one project or another, and then losing interest in it. He needed a hobby, and he needed one soon, or things could go horribly, horribly wrong.
My Dad got together with my aunts and uncles, and they all decided to chip in and buy Grandpa a new video camera for his birthday. He loved it, and started filming everything. One of my cousins got the not-so-bright idea to show Grandpa how to edit the films and email them. Soon, our emails were flooded with videos showing Grandma planting tulip bulbs, the dust in the chimney (seriously, we got a video about dust), and videos of photo albums.
Then, the day arrived when Grandpa discovered armadillos in the yard. It gave him an interesting subject. He documented the scrapes the armadillos made in the grass. He lay in wait until they came out and filmed them scuttling around the yard, foraging. He showed how they lived under the stairs. They even came right up and sniffed his boots, and he got that on film. Of course, he had to explain that he was sorry the lens cap was in the frame, but the camera was pointed straight down and there was nothing he could do about the dangling lens cap.
Grandpa’s editing techniques leave a lot to be desired, and certainly his narrative could be livened up. However, with the armadillos in his yard, at least his subject is a lot more interesting.