Farewell Leona,may you waft on strong, silver wings..sang the scruffy young man I passed by in the city park.The music was pleasant, I caught the sad words of his song. Early morning, I was late, work beckoned, I hurried along. And when another evening, rushing again, passed by the same chap, (he was changing a string), Not intending to stop, though he called out to me, “come share the Snislens I am cooking on the fire, hello, I am Godfrey
I folded my coat, put my briefcase secure neath the picnic table seats. He worked over a skillet, turning small balls of dough, explaining that he “left home recently to avoid beets” But for beets I will talk to anyone I meet. I have not been gone from my homeland long,I hope in life to aquire wisdom suitable for passing on.
Snislens are yummy served hot and fried, I learned to make them from a friend’s Ma who left me the recipe when she died. Godfrey gave me his Frisbee to use as a plate, indeed the Snislens were sizzling hot, some he cheese filled, others not, some with garlic, one with a cherry for a surprise, and the best smoked salmon I have ever had folded inside.
You must be important by the look of your shoes asked the cheeky, young man frying Snislen dough balls now in twos. For a week I have camped by the duck pond down below, and twice a day see you in a hurry everywhere you go. “I work picking fruit from cane and tree, because it is ripe we work with pleasant urgency.”What is it that you do that requires always being in a hurry?”
I savored a Salmon Snislen and pondered this question from Godfrey..”I sell things to persons with a guarantee it will break in two years and they will have to buy, a new improved model from me” “I have calls to make and orders to fill, if I don’t make sales a more aggressive chap will.” I fear living in a small, shabby room in the dark, or sitting with nothing to do in the park”.
Godfrey was quiet, handed the last hot Snislens to me. Finally he said softly, “Well George, does selling a person something they don’t really need make you happy?’..I helped him wash the dishes neath the tap some distance away. Godfrey tuned his guitar to the sunset. I bid him goodnight, promised to drop by his camp another day.
“Farewell, Leona you came out from the shadow, without fear you built a good life for yourself, sang Godfrey. My word, I pondered, what an odd wake up call, I did not go back to my sales job at all.
I left my shoes on the sidewalk for someone with none, told the boss,”I retire,” you may find me near the duck pond, cooking Snislens over the fire.I do slow work that makes me happy, with spare time to learn piano, and banjo to, with five strings. I sing for Leona, for she gave us Snislens, she is gone from us, flown on silver wings.
A rare, unusual story from Godfrey’s early years on the road, we thank George for sharing.