THE SUNBEAM FOUND ME – Vingettes from his Wake

Call it faith or peace or simplistic belief this I learned from Godfrey, he told me on his darkest days,’The sunbeam always found me”

As a wee chap lying damp in my cot,looking up at the window where the drapes used to be ,Id’ reach for the dust beam that shone through the glass until grumpy Ma remembered me. Christmas Day in my small Welsh town, slab of fruitcake in hand on the steps I sat with warm horse sweater on and Siamese cat while inside my uncle Lou sang  drunken and loud, but the sunbeam found my cat and I from behind the darkest storm cloud.

It found me an awkward youth avoiding beets,it glinted off the posh black cabs as I wandered London’s streets, across the cold ocean warmed my face as I stood at the ship’s bow, getting yelled at by the sailor to” Oy you, get down from there right now.”

The sunbeam found me alone hiking the high track- after the storm of lightning and thunder shining through the steaming forest, warming the stone shelf I sheltered under..

..And when I lost my Clementine,my bold fish ladies daughter. Twas a cold morning when as ashes flung her at sunrise to the sea..bereft that she my lodestar would guide me no more, that Autumn again the sunbeam found me,bright and strong as she was on that rocky shore.

..Someone named Eunice Sopp stood up and read this one at his wake, followed by an odd old woman,named Margretta, who read a poem of her own.

MARGARETTA-THE BORING ROAD TO SHRULE, He hitched the lonely Pig-root Pass ,he biked up Bust Me Gall Hill rainy and cool, he spent a day at the crossroads of Sassafrass, slept in a hut with possums and pack rats.Godfrey welcomed the dawn from the summit of Mt Ghoul, but he never once traveled the Boring Road to Shrule.

..I have lived my life on the Boring road on the Boring road to Shrule,you cross the bridge at Pea Vine Corner, pass the Pub The Paddock and Mule, mine is the cottage half way down the Boring road to Shrule.

Godfrey he trekked softly on the muddy Heaphy Track, Rode horseback to Mt Elephant Pancake Barn, twas there he told fair Gertrude he’d be back….

In Peru he lived for days on potato soup and quinoa gruel, he journyed far but never down the Boring road to Shrule. From Appleby Fair to Roaring Meg , from Rongomai to Winnipeg..it was there he frostbit his behind, froze it on a bridge rail cold and cruel, and never once did Godfrey trek THE BORING ROAD TO SHRULE..

.Margaretta ate all the egg and pickle sandwiches after her bold recitation, slipped all of my toilet rolls into her over-sized poke and left before the Wurzel_Hurl..nobody knew who she was.

..Next up to speak was ANTHONY PATRICK EUGENE GRAVENSTEIN, an apple farmer,”Godfrey worked for us one season, picking our apples ladder high in the trees”.”He wore odd baggy shorts under his kilt, bloomer like down to his knees.Godfrey would talk to anyone,and one day when he helped me round up wayward cattle, he mentioned that he disliked beets; avoiding beets had been a lifelong battle.

.. I sensed in Godfrey a boundless joy but a trace of sadness to, he feared his life was passing too fast,with so much he wanted to see and do. We all enjoyed our time with Godfrey , with apple picking over he moved on..but he left us with a pair of his bloomer shorts still on the clothes line high over the lawn.

This final story was slipped under my door shortly after I learned of Godfrey’s passing..one of many that would be left over the years as he passed into legend

.NEW YEARS EVE AT GODFREY’S LUGGAGE- Twice a day I pass and see it through the glass,alone in the window you sit alone and plaid. Alone and plaid a suitcase, alone each day you must face, the fact that you are stuck there and that’s sad. Since 1977 you have sat there till the day when once again you will be loaded up,set free,to be carried proud through sun and rain off to catch a bus or plane perhaps a ferry ride across the bay.You will carry socks and undies off to funerals and fun days,but sadly no one will come shopping here today. Still I pass by the store, note the cob-webs on the door ,twice a day from summer to new year, and  oft I have looked for Godfrey and it appears that from what I can see…,through the dusty windows, there is no Godfrey here…

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