It was The Horses!- From Beatrice

That may explain..Worzel , told me quietly after hearing my last Godfrey story. That may be why it took him so long getting home once he decided to. The last time I saw Godfrey I had helped him transport a mare he had “purloined” half way across the country to a sanctuary. He stayed with us over summer, working on “odd” jobs, his poetry, and watching storms from a tree in the yard.

We were preparing to retire from the ranch, to the coast and  open the Luggage store we promised to name for him. He must have doubled back to Aotearoa,where I knew his heart really lay. He so loved horses, I shared with Worzel, since he was very young..this was his first memory of horses. Godfrey as a young lad, but already quite aware of how bewildering adults are, was one day all dressed up in suit, for a drive to the city with the family in their dented old car.

It was shut-up Godfrey, you had the chance to wee, shut-up Godfrey across his old Ma’s knee, to the big , noisy city shut-up Godfrey. Sister Alice told her brother that the bogeyman and gypsies, get little brothers here who don’t shut-up. But his dad bought him popcorn, and fizzy lemonade and there were no beets in sight at their Aunt June’s house where they stayed.

He had a lovely long hot bath and nobody complained about all the foam that spewed or the mess that he made. Tucked in later by his Aunt without a  goodnight slap, she said sleep well deary, tomorrow is the Easter Parade.

It was the horses!, the horses!, trotting through his thoughts as warm in a strange bed he lay, for on the long journey he was told to count cows, but it was horses he looked out for all the way. Sister Alice  told Godfrey next day, hold my hand , I don’t want to but here comes the first marching band of the parade. Oh the noise of the cymbals, the bagpipes, the drums!oh the fine music they made. Godfrey scooped sweets firemen threw from the streets, but the best was yet to come in the Easter Parade.

It was the horses, the horses!,with kind eyes, glossy coats, with their big feet.Pulling the beer wagons, carrying cowboys, lucky city children on show ponies. There were rich folks in carriages waving, at Godfrey in awe on the corner of the street . I think that lady who waved was the Queen , Alice, she was wearing furry gloves Godfrey told her, shut-up  please said Alice, who only had eyes for a young and skinny marching soldier.

Then his Uncle Verne, (really not a bad guy) lifted Godfrey to his shoulders as the last of the parade passed by. As the music and the clip clop of hooves  slowly faded away, he watched men with brooms and shovels, clean the mess that was left behind that day. Oh the horses, the horses , he told his Ma over cream buns for tea, how I would love a pony like that little dapple grey!…oh the horses.

Godfrey’s dad Albion spent most of their holiday in the Pub, Alice got her soldier, and Ma stocked up on knitting patterns and wool, to make Godfrey his beloved Horse Sweater later in the year. It also may explain something he told me once, “about mosaics of horses that ran through his family”.


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