The stories about him live on in our family history seventy-five years after his death. My mother, Mary, loved her grandfather, Edward O'Brien, very much and kept his memory alive through these stories. One came from the times Granda Brien accompanied his family when they visited the neighbours to listen to a radio in Maddox Cove, Newfoundland.
One evening in particular stood out in Mom's memory. Everyone gathered, as usual, to listen to The Adventures of the Irene B. Mellon. This musical program, written by Jack Withers, told the story of a fictional schooner and her adventures around the world. The entire community looked forward to her adventures.
During the 1930s, times were tough. Rarely did the gathering share any food because people did not have anything extra to share. However, this night the hostess had an orange which was quite rare indeed. She saved it for the occasion to share with her guests.
The woman sectioned the fruit, and started with my great grandfather O'Brien, saying, "Age is honourable," as she passed the plate of orange sections to Granda first.
Granda took the plate and said, "Tank ya, moy dear," and proceeded to eat the whole orange. The others looked on with watering mouths as Granda ate the entire orange. Not a word was said.
When his family told him what he had done, Granda was embarrassed. "Why didn'a ya say someting. I was delighted tinkin' twas all moine. An' twas some good too."
Needless to say, food never appeared during the radio broadcasts ever again.