Harris is a bit like one of those thousand piece puzzles.
I had a few easy pieces to begin with, the four corners and a few straight edged side pieces. These were facts passed on by Harris’ son: a place of birth, emigration, an occupation, marriage and children, an illness and age at death.
I even had a few centre pieces – anecdotes – which gave me a clue about his character, behaviour and temperament.
But there are many pieces still missing and all those who knew him have long since moved on, their memories of those all-important centre pieces of the puzzle locked up forever.
And it is mostly these centre pieces that I want to unravel because they will begin to tell me more about the kind of person he was.
I have a hunch – possibly another centre piece – that Harris had had humble beginnings, but had risen above them to prosper in adulthood.
There also seemed to be a bit of the wanderlust in him and a sense of adventure – more potential centre pieces. These characteristics were manifest in his son who, in turn, passed them on to his own children.
My search for Harris is also about finding out more about myself. Because he was not just anyone who had lived before I was born.
Harris was my grandfather.