Resting Places; Take Two
I stop to browse the shelves; to see what’s new,
to post a letter,
and discuss the weather
and the state of the nation,
and the state of the street, and the theme of the week.
And catch, if I can, the tales, that Mavis
must tell, of Mrs Carbuncle’s feet.
If I linger long, and lost, in Nancy’s garden of notes,
I am bound to hear of Audrey’s Jim, who’s rowed ever so well in the Maadi Cup,
and big brother Ben, who’s working in London and enjoying the slum of his OE* flat,
whilst Susan’s Prudence has had enough and is heading back home, come next June, to give little Johnny and Sam the chance of living close to Nan, and squelching their toes in the soil of the land.
And I will hear Tom say, with wisdom and care, ‘That’ll be twenty, today, Alastair, and Margaret’s magazine will be here next week. See you then. ”
A few blocks north and it’s time to sit,
in an old barber’s chair, where a golden-haired maiden, elegant and thin,
washes and trims this gossip’s, (yours truly 🙂 ), grey mane ,
whilst we discuss the earthquakes, the state of repairs,
and her good young man who knows how to cook and take care of the kids.
And, as we engage in idle chatter, Hamish and Ryan wriggle and squirm on the bench by the door,
waiting their turn (no appointments necessary) for a short back and sides, because Mum, flipping texts and pages, said that they must,
all oblivious to the fact that once, over there, Charlie stood,
and sold a half loaf of bread to Martha and Fred, and a scoop of sugar for Mother’s tea.
Only Mother said could they have it on tick, because baby Mabel is sick, and Pa’s got no work till next Tuesday week.
And kind Charlie nodded, and sighed, with wisdom and care, and allowed them to add broken biscuits for free, because he knew Billy and Annie would pay when they could. Then he secured the safe in the floor,
and went to his home, out the back door,
where his Kathleen played and the dog kept watch. And Charlie was content that, at least, for this day, he had food in the larder, stock in his shop and a place to stop, with his lovely Louisa and daughters, two.
The shop, which is now Madisons for Haircuts, was operated (owned?) by my grandfather for a few years, from 1921. It is one of the few physical reminders of our family history that survived the earthquakes.
[This will be my last post for a few weeks. I will be taking a rest from writing my blog as I will be busy with house guests until early April. I will try, as best as I can, to read your blogs and comments but I may not be as active as usual.]
*OE means Overseas Experience, a little like a Gap Year.