SHOOED AWAY LIKE A PIGEON- his Hiraeth and his 7th wisdom

On the day they left home, of course sister Alice did not go quietly into that spring sun. Godfrey at 16, felt shooed away like a pigeon, ready to go yet bewildered at what he had done that was so wrong,his homemade Beet- A- pult, the beet birthday cake, the two nights since he had been home, out cavorting with the fish ladies’ daughter.

The last day of school he had climbed out the window of  Mr O”Hara, the narcoleptic Irishman who taught french class, after O”Hara was asleep and vowed never to return.

Ma did seem more annoyed to him than usual… There she stood with her broom having cleared out his room, she said before my program comes on, she requested he and Alice be long gone. 16 years of beets every day Ma cried,16 years of beets every day! Always eat breakfast, keep your feet warm and dry, go away, Alice quit shouting, Godfrey shut up, go away. Take your pony, dog and cat, wear your sunhat, go away. He was shooed down the hall, like a  pigeon from St Pauls”.

In the yard  we could hear Alice bawling.  because of beets I am cast  out alone !!!. Godfrey said I”m off to Australia it is my calling. No more beets for  me, thank you Ma,take care, goodbye from Godfrey.

That’s the day he left me his pony, dog and cat , we heard hollering for hours from the yard where Alice sat, until their Uncle Lou took her in. Indeed they were shooed away like a pigeon.

The Welsh word for longing is Hiraeth. Godfrey left home with a deep longing for adventure, for wide horizons. He said a  tearful goodbye to his pets, and  especially Simon Fraser his Siamese cat,whom he had been owned by all his life, and Grubby the good grey pony, he knew I would give them the best life I could. Ma, not minding Barley the dog kept him.

There stood Godfrey in the middle of the road, same un kept hair, no pompadour but  crudely cut by Alice in the style of a Monk’s Tonsure, though she promised not to of course. He wore his good kilt, bloomer shorts, a quick drying practical cotton shirt and his gumboots. He carried his new plaid  backpack which could easily be converted  into a suitcase for travel in areas where Hippies were regarded with suspicion.

I held his hand and gave him a special gift I made in Mr Plank’s metal work class.( Godfrey had taken sewing) It was a silver bracelet  engraved with the words “I do not like beets”  It was May 30th, 1967, he looked back only once and waved.

He was bound for Australia. As was his way Godfrey  took the roundabout route, the high road, the goat  track,  the sea, he found his way through gutter, barn and mansion.  The odd young man incapable of learning in  a noisy smelly school room, was to aquire  a  lifetime  of  knowledge and wisdom , roaming the world- his 7th  perhaps ought to have been his first,….NEVER LEAVE HOME WITHOUT FIRST USING THE LOO, OR PASS UP THE CHANCE TO  WHEN THERE IS ONE.    BYE BEATRICE.

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6 thoughts on “SHOOED AWAY LIKE A PIGEON- his Hiraeth and his 7th wisdom

  1. I’m spending a rainy holiday afternoon learning more and more about Godfrey. This part of his story gives vivid detail of how his travel began but I’m miffed at his Ma, none-the-less.

  2. I to, Mercy are enjoying a rainy Easter Sunday, which always seems damp…..it was indeed insensitive of Ma to throw them out. She is a complicated Ma. Not easy to love. But he had to get away on his own.

  3. Another example then that re-confirms one of my favorite quotes: “a satisfied need is not a motivator”. A holiday spent by oneself can be very peaceful when you know many are running about trying to have a good time, in my opinion.

  4. When there are so many new posts to discover I go to my birthday or the closest and often find gems. In your case it’s a bit like a jewelry – the place is full of gems. I keep being reminded of three writers when I read about Godfrey. Dylan Thomas (I guess he could be a favourite of yours) Jack Kerouac (stream of conscious On the road) and Tennyson’s Enoch Arden.
    Three of my favourites and now I have a fourth.

  5. Many thanks- indeed an honor, Godfrey, who was never “Prideful” would bake scones over your thoughts. love Dylan Thomas, emulated Kerouac in my youth, and must look up Tennyson’s Enoch Arden My mother, like Godfrey’s Ma would not allow Tennyson in the house. Also influenced by Richard Brautigan, Dr Suess, your wonderful bush balladeers- a treasure.

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