I WISH MOST EVERYONE COULD SPEND TIME IN A SMALL PRAIRIE TOWN,AS GODFREY DID AS HE STAYED A YEAR IN VALLEY RIVER, AFTER WE MET AT THE FAIR. HE ENDEARED HIMSELF TO THE TOWN FOLK, AND TO MRS PUCHALSKI- TALL, IMPOSING OF PERSONALITY AND ANCIENT, SHE TERRIFIED THE WAITRESSES IN THE ONLY CAFE, (where Godfrey worked) OR LEADING THE TOWN COP ON A MERRY CHASE IN HER GOLF-CART, SHE WAS A TRUE OLD CHARACTER..
.. She tended rose bushes over one hundred years old, that her pioneer grandparents brought, on the long trek by wagon through the Riding Mountains, and down to the valley a homestead they sought. In the big old farmhouse Mrs Puchalski grew cranky and old, but of her roses and sofas her story is told.
Told to the vagabond whom she met contemplating, life by the stream that through her place ran. With a prod of her cane she said who may you be?, and why do you sit by the stream on my land?
He replied pardon me, my name is Godfrey, I do not like beets and am just passing through, I will talk to anyone and tell my story, if you Mrs Puchalski will to. She said Iwill not bore you with the work and the worry or the winter nights stormy and black. Oh the harvest crews, the hot dry summers and the children that left for the city and rarely come back.I too, was young when I left home said Godfrey, do tell me of all these sofas, I sense a story.
Mrs Puchalski over tea and cream bun, told Godfrey her ugly black sofa, was so old and heavy it could be budged by no one. That one of brown corderoy, torn up the side, I keep as a shrine, for on it my dear old husband, yelled himself hoarse at the T.V.,keeled over and died. Poor old Vern died.
The one over there, left only a frame, you eye it politley but do not ask why? It indeed is chewed up, it happened the day, I forgot our Doberman dog was alone, got home and found the sofa that way.
The clumps of stuffing, the springs and fuzz I find to this day in odd corners, remind me of happy times and what a good dog Rebbeca was.
She had rosebushes tended over one hundred years and her sofas set about the house with care. Mrs Puchalski was gone, next time the Vagabond Godfrey passed by there. He sat down to rest on her now sagging porch, on the sofa outside damp and cold. Looking out to the creek bank Godfrey sat, looking out past the rose bushes more than one hundred years old.
..AS I HAVE OFT MENTIONED, GODFREY WAS A CLEVER BOOTS, BUT SOMETIMES HIS IDEAS WERE A BIT NAFF…BENT NAILS AND STRING-
Bent nails and string Godfrey thought as he sat, many a fine thing, a chap can create out of bent nails and string. And working that evening with light from a torch, with the old couch from Mrs Puchalski’s porch, with wires and twine and parts of the couch, that had once been “poor old Vern’s shrine, and lastly the chassis of the golf cart, hidden in the barn for years, he had a handy motor for hills and workable gears.
Bent nails and string and a warm plaid throw, the couch bike was built, and ready to have a go. There truly exists a photo famous, fly specked, and faded it hangs on the wall, above the table in the town cafe’ where Mrs Puchalski terorised all. Its’ of Godfrey pulled over riding, on the couch bike smiling, wind blown and free. The town cop standing, looking up at him scowling , so long ago is me.
The only real crime in Gilbert Plains, where I spent my career as town cop, was cabbage thrown through a main street window and pork chops stolen from the only shop. And so it went until this summer day, the call came in of an odd young man, pedaling a couch down the highway, in a kilt.
Bent nails and string and a big broad grin, atop it waved Godfrey to the passing cars. Like Mrs Puchalski he rode into local legend, and I’m asked of him sometimes in the local bars. Bent nails and string,I tell those I bring out to see it when the stories are told, the couch bike proudly sits year after year, honering Mrs Puchalski of old, and of Godfrey…TOLD TO WORZEL BY BRIAN THE COP.