While Mel is relaxing in Auckland during her school break, Brendon is on his way to the other side of the world. Yes, back to Canada, the land where he was raised: Nouveau Brunswick. It was a bit of an unexpected trip, but he has gone back to be with family upon the sudden passing of his grandfather on 24 September, 2010.
In his honor, we have composed this blog post. This is a tribute to a great man, Neil Neilson, who we have otherwise known as Poppy.
Poppy has led quite a legacy within his family that stems through many generations. He is a man of solid faith and unwavering character.
Married to the beautiful Norma Neilson, the two celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary 3.5 years ago. It was special to be a part of this grand celebrtion during Mel’s first trip to New Brunswick in the spring of 2005.
Norma and Neil first met when Neil worked as a linesman in Saint John and ended up in the hospital after being electricuted: Norma was the nurse who took care of him. Sparks flew, literally.
We shared some great memories with Poppy last Christmas when we went home to New Brunswick. A Christmas feast, East Coast style, complete with sweet potatoes with marshmallows and Nanny’s Christmas pudding, was enjoyed in the company of extended family. A joyous occasion it was.
In 2008, when all of Brendon’s siblings were home in the summertime, we celebrated Christmas in August. Above, Poppy proudly sports the florescent orange hat he won in the gift exchange. He always did like hats.
Brendon recalls that in Saint John, there was a bakery where Poppy liked to buy his baked goods. On the side of the building was a mural featuring 3 women baking bread. As a child, Brendon and his siblings always used to say that one of the ladies was Poppy’s “girlfriend.” Poppy sure had a way with the ladies.
When they were little, Brendon and his sisters used to make a game out of hiding Poppy’s boots when he was over. As Poppy had the tendency to want to leave early, the kids were wise by hiding Poppy’s boots so he would have to stay longer.
One fond memory of Poppy that comes to mind for Mel has to do with tea. Poppy traditionally makes tea after every meal. King Cole is his brand of choice. Mel asks for only a half cup, and with a big smile on his face, Poppy brought out just that: A mug literally cut in half vertically, full of tea.
Poppy had a great sense of humour. His laugh was large, infectious, and full of joy. He was a man of consistancy and tradition. He had a heart of gold that cares greatly for his family. Over his lifetime, he has impacted many with his warm smile, his charm, and his unwavering character. He liked his beans baked, his bread and his cheese sliced thick, and his tea strong.
We love you, Poppy.