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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Pangs of regret...

My Grandpa, Thayer "Turk" Evans, was a pretty cool guy. (died Feb. 14, 1999) He was an amazing painter of birds and wildlife. He sang with the world famous Evans Quartet. He served as a sharpshooter in WWII in New Guinnea. He made the best wild duck stew in the world. His fingers looked like uncooked sausages. He had the best laugh, and was always so happy-go-lucky. He would bring us kids a solid chocolate bunny every Easter, without fail.

I have some regrets, however.

He was not a very "personal" kind of guy. He NEVER talked about himself to me. He never told me stories about the war, or what it was like singing all over the world in his quartet. He never shared his recipe for duck stew (not that it would help me now, I don't know how to go duck hunting, anyway!). He didn't teach me how to paint, or bird-spot. He did, however, teach  me that his idea of going to church was watching Boston Pops on Sunday afternoons, that Hee-Haw was darn good entertainment, and that no matter how much you love your T.J. Hooker television show, your little granddaughter will always be able to sweet-talk you into letting her change the channel to watch "Love Boat".

Today, for some odd reason, I have been thinking about him a lot. I realized that I do not have one single print of any of his art. Nothing! I don't have an original painting of his. My son has no idea what kind of talent his great-grandpa had. He didn't stand next to him as he painted a beautiful bird effortlessly, as I did. He didnt' see his art hanging all around the house and take it for granted like I did.

I heard a story once of my grandpa in WWII. He jumped off a cliff into the rolling sea below in New Guinnea to divert the Japanese. He apparently messed up his knees pretty bad doing this. That's all I know. Nothing more. I have searched and searched the internet looking for any more information about this, but can't find anything. I wish my grandpa had told me more.

So, I found someone on the internet who knew my grandpa. Who apparently spent lots of time with him, and learned all about birding from him. He said he has an original painting of a Peregrine falcon painted by him packed away "somewhere in his garage". I tried to email him to see if I can purchase this painting. It may not mean much to him... then again, maybe it does. I dont' know, but it sure would mean a lot to me.

I guess I have a lot to catch up on with my grandpa when I see him again in the hereafter.  I sure hope there's duck hunting in Heaven, though.  I'd give anything to taste grandpa's duck stew again!