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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Rituals


He sits at the table, awkward and gangley, steaming mug of tea hidden beneath calloused fists. He tunes out as she fills up the silence. This she knows, but doesn't mind.


It is their dance.


Work boots shuffling, he focuses on the sugar bowl, whilst my mother examines his box of freshly harvested produce. It is still wrapped in the rich earth smell of the allotments from whence they were recently torn. As always, she tells him his vegetables are the sweetest by far. As always, he nods this as true.


His hands are too big for the room, so huge they are all I can see of him. Watching, I follow as they lift the mug to his lips.  He takes a swallow of scalding brew, placing it silently back down again to the linoleum cloth-covered table.

Big John is a regular visitor to our door, as he is to everyone else around these tenement blocks. The frequency of his calls vary with the season, come the winter they are sparse.

But he always comes back.

As he will continue to do so for the whole of my life.


My mother makes her selection and agrees a price, digging some pennies out from her black, worn purse. John smiles and stands up, up, up. I stare up, up, too, craning my neck to meet with his eye. Connected, he winks, as I knew he would, and my belly performs a flip-flop of delight.


Our ritual now.


Bending, he enfolds his iron girder arms around me, raising me up level to his lined, gnarly face, scratching a rough, spiky kiss across my now tingling cheek. I shriek, as he tosses me high, higher, sailing, sweeping the ceiling, and (OH!) a split-second before descent, 

(HUSH)

Time frozen...


Look.. 

                         I FLY!!

45 comments:

chewy said...

You back at it? I love reading this series.

Shrinky said...

Chewy, I set it down when it got too hard. Maybe it's time, eh? (Hugs)

Shen said...

This is so wonderful. I am right there, inside the child as she flies up in the air.

I too love this series.

YELLOWDOG GRANNY said...

oh man..that could have been me and my daddy...still remember the feel of his day old beard and the feel of his short squat little hands(and I share them) around my waist as he tosses me in the air and calls me Jackson.'....thanks for this.

Sex, Drugs and Bacon Sandwiches said...

Great stuff - I need to go back and read some more I think!

Shrinky said...

Aw Shen, thanks for that!

Shrinky said...

Hi Jackie, your comment has just wrapped a great big smile around my heart (tho' take it from me, Big John turns out to be NOTHING like your daddy, believe me)!

Shrinky said...

Hey there Sex Drugs and Bacon Sandwich (what a mouthful!), I need to get back writing more of Wee Karen, it's been a long time out.

Paul C said...

Wonderful story! A man who comes around with local produce which is sweeter and more nutritious than anything at a grocery store shipped in from distant continents.

Brian Miller said...

this is wicked cool...love the memory..and the toss in the air...my boys love them as i did....you captured well how big the world seemed back then...

Life, Laughter and Paris said...

This post paints a picture I can visualize in my head. Terrific! Keep it up - we'll be reading!

Kim said...

I loved this. I'll have to look back through your archives and get caught up. Who is this man? I think it would be such a great service to have someone come to the door with fresh fruit and veggies. Hope you are well my friend!

Shrinky said...

Ah Paul, those were the days, eh? Of course, this was back in times before the rise of the megga-super-store!

Shrinky said...

Hi Brian, I am sure your sons will also look back in fondness too, of these precious times shared with you (smile).

Shrinky said...

Hello LLP, I've kind of let this side of my writing slip as of late, thanks for the encouragement, it means a lot!

Shrinky said...

Hi Kim, there's little demand these days for lone gardiner's to tout their wares door-to-door (more's the pity).. guess the convenience of fridges and local supermarkets have pretty much put paid to that.

Jayne said...

Aw. Tossing kids in the air usually guarantees huge smiles and lots of giggles. (Either that or horror!)
I think I'll stay a while and catch up here. Much fun. ;-)

Margaret Benbow said...

This "dance" is so beautiful, human and fully realized, with the fine vegetables and your big alert eyes (and young writer's mind) noticing...appreciating.

Shopgirl said...

Wow, that is some amazing words there. I am entranced by your scene and this guy. He sounds wonderful.

Putz said...

now a days that would be child abuse

Shrinky said...

Hey Jayne, so pleased to make your acquaintance, welcome aboard!

Shrinky said...

yeah Margaret, innocence trusts, doesn't it?

Shrinky said...

Yes Shopgirl, he WAS wonderful, I adored him. Why wouldn't I?

Shrinky said...

Putz, you are the only one who picked up on that (wry smile).. those days parents were far less less vigilent.

That Girl said...

i enjoyed this story throughly.

Fickle Cattle said...

Nice. You have a gift with words.

http://ficklecattle.blogspot.com/

Grandma's scrapbook said...

Good morning, how are you? I wish you all the best

I love reading your post!

Shrinky said...

Hi That Girl, lovely to see you back again (smile)!

Shrinky said...

Hey Fickle Cattle, thanks for stopping by, and for the kind words!

Shrinky said...

Good morning Grandma's Scrapbook, I hope you are keeping warm and surviving all that snow?

Skunkfeathers said...

Nice, reading your memories ;)

Joanna Jenkins said...

So happy to see your storytelling back. This is a perfectly told childhood memory. Thank you.
xo jj

Shrinky said...

Hiya Skunk, it's funny what the mind stores from childhood, isn't it?

Shrinky said...

Hello jj, I often wonder what memories my own kids will recall, when they reach my age?

phaseoutgirl said...

Hi Shrinky...

Its been a while since I have been here, been so out of touch... Happy New Year! Still around, but for some reason have not been writing very much....

:) Hugs.. Cecilia

Shrinky said...

Hey there Cecilia, what a lovely surprise to see you back in blogland! Happy New year to you too, sweet lady - I hope the world has been treating both you and yours kindly?

Pat Tillett said...

So nice and so REAL! I think (or maybe I hope) everyone can relate to this great little story! Really nice...

mythopolis said...

This nurtures the nostalgia of childhood, and by-gone times so well. Makes you question what progress is, and ways of life lost along the way.
This spring, I am launching into backyard chicken farming! I am quite excited about it, and it reminds me of helping my grandfather throw feed to the chickens, and gathering up eggs.

mythopolis said...

PS. I liked this so much, I re-posted it on one of my sites. yesterdaysmyth.blogspot.com I hope you don't mind. I wasn't able to copy the photo, or your font, but I did link the readers back to you!

Shrinky said...

Oh Dan, backyard chicken farming? I'd be excited too, um, except for the killing bit (sanitised, pre-packed supermarket meat is so far removed from the deed, it's easy to block how it arrived there)!

Eeeee, even my toes are smiling (wiggle, wiggle) at the honour I feel of being posted on your site - thank you so much for putting a glow into my day!

Dee Newman said...

Shrinky, so well written . . . poetry not prose . . . it contains the rhythmic if not the visual lines of a poem.

Shrinky said...

Hi Pat, actually Big John proved to have a much darker side, but yes, the perception of him I wanted to paint here was of this glorious adult I adored and trusted.

Shrinky said...

Hey Dee, I am thrilled to see you in here, thanks for stopping by, your kind words have made my day!

Sabi Sunshine said...

wow i love the bright pic ...I enjoy reading it about.

Sorry was busy lately but missed you my dear.

Have a great day!

Love
Sabi Sunshine

Stickup Artist said...

Hi Shrinky, Thanks for your visit and comment. I agree with Dee about the writing! It is makes me think of the growing global food crisis and that if we all weren't so dependent on shipping food all around the world and would grow locally, maybe we'd be better off. "Give a man a fish and feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and feed him for life."