Crumbs From the Corner: Adventures in Woolgathering

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Moving Along

Spouse has been teaching me to drive, of late, and I've been trying to learn.
In doing so, I recalled, from days of yore, an old battered, blue toy car that belonged to my cousin- and we of the same age- that I was only ever allowed to watch her operate.
Yes, I watched with a wistful eye as Cousin navigated Billy Bumper, her little legs pumping away.
My young heart hoped I might be deemed equally fit to one day motor so smoothly around the footpaths of her house.
Incidentally, my house didn't have any footpaths, adding to the awe and envy that washed over me each and every time Cousin came tootling around a corner, in a hurry to get somewhere or nowhere, blowing her horn to shoo me off the path and out of her way.
Could I have a turn on Billy Bumper? I'd say. Not to be begging you, but please please please oh please.
No. It was her turn.
It was always her turn, because she was legal possessor of Billy Bumper and in any case, it was her house, and in any case she didn't want to get off him, and in any case, No.
Toot, Toot, and away she'd go around the perfect corners of her brick house, and I vowed that one day I'd have my own toy vehicle, and she'd never, ever get to touch it, but she'd get a pretty good look at me going around in it, I'd make certain sure of that.
I'm all grown up now, you understand.
I practice in a real, honest to goodness motorcar.
If I ever happen to be sailing down a remote, twisted, country road in the wilds of Ireland, and the fates allow me to chance upon Cousin dressed up to the nines, standing in a ditch, under a thundercloud, her elegant thumb stuck out in desperation- well, of course I'd pick her up. What else would I do?
And naturally we'd gossip about old Billy Bumper as we went along, and what might possibly have become of his blue plastic self, and, of course, we'd get into talking about how Cousin came to be stranded in a ditch or whatnot in the first place, because sharing stories is, I'd wager, one of the finer things about owning a car and having a fellow passenger, and it's miles better than daft promises of retaliation made when one was a youngster.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Mater's Enormous Sunhat

In a cupboard, on a hook,
It's there, if you will take a look
Through the gloom and cobwebs there
If you squint and if you stare
If you wrinkle up your nose
and close one eye and curl your toes
it's there, it's there, it never left,
it waited years, alone, bereft,
forlorn, unused and looking silly
-especially when the weather's chilly
and not a scrap of sun is out there-
it hung like a dusty trout there
hoping somebody would come
and look inside, and maybe hum
"the sunshine's awfully strong this day
I'd like to wear you, if I may..."
And from the hook comes tumbling down
the very finest one in town-
the biggest, strawest, giantest Hat-
no sun could ever get past That!
Once again the Hat goes on,
the Head says, "together we're like a swan:
You're the feathers, I'm the rest,
and won't the public be impressed?"
The Head, the Hat are so excited,
To at long last be reunited.
Away they go, a smashing pair,
The sun can beat but they don't care.
The biggest, strawest, giantest bonnet
impenetrable as a Shakespearean sonnet-

and a thousand birds can rest upon it.

Friday, August 3, 2012


There's an old place where people go, to meet and have a little bite to eat.
Actually, it's not been around as long as all that, but the local Senior Center is a veritable hive of activity sometimes- like last week when there was an end of the month party, and a musical band performed after lunch. 
There were perhaps six or seven members, all of the senior variety, working away on various instruments like guitars or keyboard, and everybody had something to either strum or beat or rattle.
I kept my eyes on one lady in particular.
A scarlet hat was perched atop her head; it matched to the precise shade her lipstick, her dress, and the tambourine she thrashed against her right leg in tandem to the music.
She also had a voice to accompany her fellow musicians, and she thoroughly used it, belting out a Glenn Miller tune that the rapt audience was familiar with.

"Way down south in Birmingham
I mean south in Alabam'
There's an old place where people go
To dance the night away..."

Slowly and surely some patrons were dusting the lunch crumbs from their laps and rising out of their seats to sway to the rhythm.
I still kept my eye on the lady in red, even as I attempted to wipe the tables post-lunch.
There were vases brimming with summer flowers on each table, and I admit I might have scrubbed a flower or two by mistake, captivated as I was by this lady who seemed to travel somewhere else with her voice, and took everyone else with her, perhaps a couple of generations and another era back in time.
She stood at the microphone belting that red red tambourine against her red red dress, occasionally turning a page of her songbook but never missing a beat.

Between the voice and the setting and everything being so red and generally outstanding, it was some time- several Glenn Miller type crooning tunes later- that I at last noticed the enormous crutch under her left arm, the crutch that was holding her up and providing support while she provided music.

...Where people go
To dance the night away...

...And to forget, possibly, for the briefest spell, that there's any such thing in the world as a rotten old crutch, so that they can get on with essentials, such as music and dancing and having a whale of a time.
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