LETTERS AND LANDLINES-  Even now I see him ; remember him as very young. He has bramble scratches, and backpack with patches crudely sewn on. He has paid his dues, he has earned  the brown, muddy boots of the true vagabond.

Into the snug tea-rooms, cold and road worn, came Godfrey in from the rainstorm. His kilt steamed as close to the fire as he could he sat. Unself concious he hung his socks to dry, and hung also his wet wooley hat. With a pot of hot tea before him, a plate of pastries, he savoured every bite. One last long look outside at the nasty weather, and Godfrey settled down to write.

…Written letters and landlines, these were the times that Godfrey knew….My Heifer, how he laughed at my Heifer story. Tell a Mrs Gibberflat story, Godfrey rolled out the “waifish charm”. I tipped him out of my turquoise chair, made him promise not to laugh, and told him the story of my birthday, the year I asked for a Heifer calf.

Down beyond the junkyard in the green meadow, lies a newborn Jersey calf- hear the old cow bellow. I will name her “Princess”, I will take her to the fair, in a pretty pink halter, pin a blue ribbon there. I will feed her and pet her and keep her tail clean. May I have a Heifer calf, when I turn 14??

Old dad muttered NO, rattling his newspaper page. Mrs Gibberflat lectured, that young ladies do not hang about cow barns at my age. In the house by the junkyard across the green meadow, hear Mrs Gibberflat my stepmother bellow.

On my birthday came a pinafore, a prim starchy one. I received black stockings, and a pair of proper shoes like a nun. And every year after when my birthday came about, no calf of my own but  something hideous like my pink wool pants and coat.

Off I’d stomp in my pinafore and everyone would laugh, I never had a Heifer calf to show off at the fair. When I rose to blow my nose, cheeky Godfrey snitched the turquoise chair.

Godfrey said between guffaws, if you still have the pinafore, dear Worzel why not go and put it on? I will show you how I dealt in my youth with beets, we will dance the hurt and disapointment  away out on the lawn. So I did and he taught me the two person Hora, we danced the rare “Wet Kleenex Twirl”, we danced “The Peruvian Armpit Waltz”, we danced the “Mock Wurzel hurl”, and the very long and loud, “Extended Polka  Shmaltz”.

Down across the moonlit yard, bounded by green meadow, our dancing was disrupted by the neighbor’s bellow. Mrs Puchalski, feared by all with voice both loud and unkind, before she befriended Godfrey, poked him with her walking stick in the behind.

Then she told us to shut-up…But this is a story of Mrs Gibberflat, who instead of a calf gave me garter belt, pinafore and ugly pink hat. A sense of the absurd is the best gift she gave me, and absurd is how I met up with Godfrey.

They were happy times, those years of letters and landlines..



  1. Everytime I think I’ve read my favorite tale of Godfrey, I discover another. “We will dance the hurt and disappointment away out on the lawn”…..”down across the moonlit yard, bounded by green meadow.” Through your words I can picture this scene so clearly.

  2. Re-reading, I’m thinking again of this favorite. I think we’ve all asked for something that would be so special to just us. Not taken seriously, we continue to long for our “heifer calf”. I’m glad Worzel had Godfrey to teach her how to dance away the hurt and gave her the gift of enjoying the absurd.

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