Saturday, 31 July 2010

My maternal grandfather had a Whippet

but not a whippet. He had the car, not a dog.
The family only ever had one dog. It belonged to my maternal grandmother and was apparently a small, noisy little thing that bit people. Thankfully I never met it.
I did meet the Whippet. My grandfather still had it when I was small. He was the sort of man who could do his own car maintenance so the car lasted for many years. It went to and from Melbourne many times. It went to Sydney once and all around South Australia and Victoria. My grandfather would probably have happily kept it for the rest of his life but my maternal grandmother wanted something more modern, more stylish, more comfortable. He bought a common brand of station wagon/estate car in maroon and cream. My grandmother was both happier and unhappier. She would have preferred a limousine. My grandfather always regretted the loss of the Whippet. The situation was a reflection of their married life.
Neither of my grandmothers could drive a car. My maternal grandmother could not even drive a horse and buggy. My paternal grandmother could. She could still have done it when I was a child. Her country childhood meant she could do many things, all of them once - and often still - useful. My maternal grandmother should have been able to do many of the same things but could not, or claimed not to be able to do them.
My other grandfather had a similar modern car. It was plain cream. He was not interested in what was under the bonnet. He had the car serviced regularly by someone for whom he made suits. My other grandmother was content with it. She saw my grandfather as the owner of the car and herself merely as the passenger. He was not a terribly good driver and it worried her but she never said anything. When he could no longer drive his car was bought by someone who was a fanatic about that particular model. I saw it some years later and the owner told me that it had come complete with the little card that said "Handbrake!" - a testimonial to my grandfather's driving. The new owner loves it with a passion. I occasionally see it in our area when he visits a friend.
This morning however I was reminded of the old Whippet. There was a photograph of another one in the morning paper. It looks old and battered but still quite sturdy. It is about to embark on another adventure to raise money for charity, something it has apparently done twice before. This time it will have company, a support team.
It made me wonder what happened to the old Whippet I knew. Did it go to a loving home? Did it have any more adventures?


Sheep Rustler said...

I personally like whippets as in dogs - and that one should not have been noisy and bitey, they are lovely dogs so that one was a wrong'un. I adore sighthounds in all their forms and own one - well, she is half Pharoah Hound and half Kelpie, so only half a sighthound genetically though her behaviour is nearly all so.

Not what your post was about, but I wanted to stick up for misunderstood skinny dogs :)

catdownunder said...

The dog was not a whippet - I think it was a terrier of some sort. (My mother is no longer alive so I cannot ask her.) I am not particularly fond of dogs - or perhaps it would be fairer to say the idea of 'dog in the city'. I think that many of them are working animals and would be happier in the country.
But then I am a cat and we cats have issues with dogs! :-)

Sheep Rustler said...

Yes, sorry, I realise now that it wasn't a whippet. Not reading carefully and thoughtfully today!