Wednesday, March 29, 2006

A long, long time ago…..

My grandfather grew up in the Orient.  His early days were difficult, it was a struggle to make a living and be somebody.  Back in the old days because the country was poor, the power industry can only afford second hand engines and machinery from England because there simply wasn't enough money from the community to purchase and own new things.

One year the company turned a tidy profit and decided it was time to upgrade their aging generator system.  So one such machinery was shipped all the way from England.  The whole process and shipping journey took months and thousands of manhours were spent to formalise the design, integration and implementation of the machine.  Once it arrived, big bosses in the company called on all the country's top mechanics and young chaps with degrees from Oxford to work on this machine.  There was a party organised to celebrate this new purchase on the day when the machine is commissioned.  One problem though - nobody can get it to work.  No Oxford scholars or aging men with decades of experience can figure out the problem.  The community was in a stand-still - idly gazing this expensive piece of machinery which potentially can be the biggest loss to the company in history.

One of the floormen heard of a young man who lived in a small country town, he knows a little about everything and recently trouble-shooted a small piece of machinery.  The project he undertook wasn't Ben Hur, but it was worth something.  Bosses said what the heck, call the young bloke in.  I hope this country bumpkin knows how to read mechanical drawings.

So the young bloke was called in.  He travelled on a slow train for a day and finally reached his destination.  He was hungry and missed his new born daughter.  He approached the monstrous machinery and instead of thumbing through the pages of drawings and instructions - he sat quietly and did some thinking, occasionally got up and looked at this and that, flicking on switches, took a few things apart and inspected, then put things back together.  By now the workshop was filled with people, Oxford engineers, masters of machineries, apprentices, and the big bosses.  He worked throughout the night.

Some time just before the break of dawn, with the crowd gathering getting larger by the minute, the young bloke flicked on the power switch.

BROOM BROOM BROOM BROOOOOOOOM.  The generated started.  It worked.  Big bosses wiped the sweat off their foreheads.

The whole facility broke into an applause and didn't stop until the young bloke quietly packed his bags and began to journey back home.  He missed his family terribly.

That young bloke was my grandfather who passed away late last year.  I didn't hear about this story until last week over a quiet coffee with my uncle.  It made me so incredibly proud of him and I wish my grandfather told me about this.  But it's just the way he is - he keeps to himself. 

I don't know how this story is going to help with my troubles at the moment - but it sure makes me determined to keep it going. 

Missing you grandpa.


Betty said...

Great story, perhaps you have your grandfather's persistance? I read your rage post. You sound like I feel at the moment.

Mony said...

Oh, I love that story. Isn't is a top feeling to unearth amazing stories from the past, particularly when it involves members of your own family? It's so important to be told these stories so we can share them & pass them on to our own children (a good reason to pursue the IF merry-go-round) I'm sure your grandfather is watching over you Drew, and I bet he's as proud of you as you are of him.

Thalia said...

What a fantastic story. We should all make more effort to learn these stories about our families and keep them alive. Your grandfather sounds like an amazing man, I hope you're doing ok with the loss.