THE HIDEOUS VASE- The 39th Wisdom of Godfrey

In the interests of clarity, Godfrey, Beatrice and I grew up calling a vase a “Vozz”, even though the only one we had was used primarily for funerals, for poetastic reasons we will call the vase a “Vaze”, as the rest of the whirled seem to.

..If I dared call my self keeper of his stories, he would probably have reminded me gently, “Most of them Worzel are fit to share” Beatrice, Godfrey’s life long friend was holder of mementos, and I learned something new of Godfrey each visit I made there, to Sonsie Farm.

Pink post box nailed askew, bottom of her lane, hay growing tall there middle of the track. Fig, Fennel and Flax the goats warmly welcome me back. Pat Amber, the Belgian mare, gentle noble gold. Feel  the donkeys warm coats and breathe when my hands are cold.

Beatrice, friend wise and strong, with something home baked and the kettle always on. Most of her puce house was rustic and dusty with books and tools, always a dead plant by the back door, rowboat she built and could not get out of the spare room, faded, chipped pottery she said had been her Ma’s, I had never up to now asked about her hideous vase.

It sat empty save a few old coins, wrinkled toffees, the corpse of a moth, alone by the window, no doily, no tablecloth. The vase was very large, with painted nymphs cavorting in a summer forest scene, they wore only bed sheets, and held what looked like beets or tomatoes overhead.

The rim was shaped like lips tinged horse slobber green, the most hideous vase I had ever seen. .. “A story is not a thing to hurry by nagging or demand itself to be told” Godfrey said, Time waits if you believe it will, if you give it the space” I knew eventually Beatrice would tell me how the vase got to her place.

When it came to gifts, Godfrey was known for his dubious sense of taste, so I was not shocked when she told me the story of the vase.

“He was like a magpie I agreed, for shiny bum-trinkets  and terrible examples of art I had a few, what “what knots” Beatrice did he send to you? She said, “A cactus that came on the bus, don’t ask me how, most of the stones in my garden wall, Australian Wax Toilet Roll, (I still have it all) , odd tinned fruit  he thought I may like, a framed photo of the remains of his pink bike, by the Tasman Sea, another  photo of the stitches in his knee.

And the vase, I could tell by her face she was desperate not to laugh, it came filled with Bon-Bons he won the vase in a   pub raffle some nameless outback place. He wrote- “I traded up for such a pretty vase, but it is not an easy thing to carry as I roam, please keep it safe until I eventually come home”, thank you from Godfrey.

First prize said he was a freezer pack of meat, which I swapped for the vase sitting high above the bar of Margaret Tuttle, owner of the place. She told me she had swapped a helicopter ride for the vase, and it was hard to have nice things, living outback, moving with the seasons and I always chunder when I fly, in the landing phase, such was the reason I swapped. With dour, wind burnt face, she lifted down the hideous vase..you are the young vagabond I hear who dislikes beets, my last old man and the ones before who died were all larrikins and cheats.

When my last one left he took all but the vase, for years I kept my treasures and my savings neath the ashes of my third husband Trevor, bottom of the vase. With a wine cork to seal it and Trevor inside, and being hideous I reckoned nobody would ever want to steal it.

She rinsed the vase before handing it to me, we Bar-B-Que’d the meat pack of sausages, out behind the pub wrote Godfrey.

So I padded it in wool, in a very stout box, taped it shut, tied it all with twine filched from hay bales, addressed it carefully- FRAGILE Vase- sent it on a journey half way round the world to Wales.

And the 39th Wisdom of Godfrey states- Wherever you find what you feel to be treasure, be it gold you can hold, or memories tattered with glory, time will wait, wait and when ready so to will be the story. thank you from Godfrey..

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2 thoughts on “THE HIDEOUS VASE- The 39th Wisdom of Godfrey

  1. From the goats’ names through the description of Beatrice’s house with a perpetual dead plant at the back door on to the description and story of the vase, fand inishing with the 39th Wisdom, this post was laugh-aloud funny with a wonderfully wise nugget at the end. Your words are to be treasured, Sheila.

  2. Thanks Janet- as I sat down to type this one a message came that my oldest friends Ma had passed on, not unexpected, she survived a tough life to find peace in her later years, at the end of the story when I mis-spelled “Fragile” it was not deliberate, it was like someone knocked my hand as a joke. Thought you would like the dead plant, and was not wrong. Glad you had a good laugh, it is what Godfrey is all about, thank you from Sheila.

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