THE ROUND-ABOUT-ROUTE TO PERU- Bye Beatrice

A van load of musicians dropped Godfrey off in Ceylon, they gave him a copy of the writings of Mao, dropped him off in the town of Ceylon, in the pretty Valley River, in south Saskatchewan.

The musicians dropped him on the wide, main street, laughed at his boots and kilt and drove on. Godfrey had explained he was headed for Peru, by way of Saskatchewan.In the lone Grain Elevators shadow, there’s a weather worn hotel and only cafe in town, Godfrey crossed the train tracks, went inside, found a booth and sat down.

A row of seed-capped farmers stared and muttered in a group. On the special menu board was scribbled 1.00 bun and soup. From the back a woman’s voice yelling, shut-up and eat it now, into his suitcase Godfrey slipped the Red Book Of Mao.

She wielded a fly- swatter, her name tag said “Grace”, she stood facing Godfrey, suspicion on her face. She said, “are you some kind of Englisher young yahoo, we don’t get many Hippies in Ceylon?” He replied, I assure you, I am merely a harmless vagabond”.  Do you put beets in the food or the soup and bun special you have on ? He said I am Godfrey, I have hitched from Alberta, getting side tracked on a cow-path in Montana to, taking scenic route to join my true love in Peru.”

He ate 24 home made perogies on a platter, told Grace and the farmers, his story of the last poor pickle bottom of the jar. By the end of the day he had a job in the cafe, and a room of his own above the bar.

Godfrey fixed the cafe’ sink, propped up greasy in the back, with rusting tins of beets in a stack. He sharpened the cooks’ knives, chipped and dull, ate perogies every day till he was full. Three mornings a week you could find him serving coffee, in his waitress smock and miss- spelled nametag- Gofdrey.

It was funny getting postcards from Ceylon, the folks soon accepted this odd young man as their own, he made cabbage rolls with the much feared Mrs Puchalski in her home, for the two town dogs he made fine leather collars, at the bake sale his cream-buns raised$25.00 for arthritis.

Godfrey wrote me to report how he was getting on…he said folks here  are gossipy, yet far from unkind, their strength of will and stories incredible. Old’s live here who have been best friends all their lives, the young ones leave, yet still the dusty, little town survives.

He wrote he met a friend, my age and a girl, at harvest time the day I won the Big Wurzel Hurl. The Queen on the stamp, I see has aged some in the years I have been gone. Bound for Peru I am, by way of Ceylon, highway 8, South Saskatchewan.

..Godfrey never told me if he read the  Book Of Mao, and I never asked has I hoped he had gotten over that Peruvian Clementine, who had lead him”astray”, she was a floozy and a cow.. From Beatrice.

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