What is time to an onion? Godfrey thought at age 11 as he lingered over long, at evensong in the damp, cool garden. just to be nasty his sister Alice, had grown a long row of beets there, weeded, fertilized and nurtured to compete in the local harvest fair.
His loathing of beets began, as the first crimson bits were plapped, on his high chair tray for little Godfrey to gum. Alice would tell Ma, yell that he ate all of them, feed them to the dog, rub beets allover him for the stain, in would stomp Ma to fill his tray again. .
..But he did so look forward to the fair. There was the pony club where Beatrice would ride, there was the fortune teller, brash, enticing him inside, there was the smell of sausages and tatties being fried. He would see the big barn with heavy horses on show, run by nasty gambling tents he was not allowed to go, and wander the exhibition hall, where Alice hoped her beets would earn a ribbon for her wall.
Ma had pulled 6 fine onions for Godfrey from her garden, wiped them off and given him the entrance fee, he put his onions on a good plate, tied a string about them with care, set out happy in his horse- sweater for the harvest fair.
ONIONS- From Godfrey read the card, beside his plate, far from the beets were fine Welsh leeks, carrots and Swiss Chard. Beatrice was always there to remind him, “Youth is not for worrying over beets, but for fun” Let us go enjoy the pigs until judging is done.
Beatrice in the writing of his story recalled, every year we looked forward to the harvest fair, have my pony create havoc in the show ring and grounds, snitch biscuits from the home baking tables, smell the smells and hear the sounds. Sneak in without paying through the hedge row where deep brambles grow.
Now a joke is only funny when humor is shared, but what could be much crueler? Somebody before the judges came, set Godfrey’s plate of onions on a pat of cow manure…Not even Alice would stoop the low, twas Tenbrooks Smythe the Third . (This I know) Godfrey and his onions were barred from the fair, a fan was brought into the hall to clear the air.
So we had our fortunes told, and handwriting to, we think it was the Fish Ladys’ husband in a dress, or her Gran, she told Godfrey he would pass into legend, told me I would meet a tall, dark man.
On the last day of the fair indeed a tall, dark cop, caught me sneaking through the thorns and threw me out on my head… Alice’s beets won the blue ribbon, and the fudge she filched from Godfrey that he made for himself won the red.
Godfrey at 11, so full of questions, sitting on the fair bleachers we shared a cream bun. He was getting taller now, again I reminded him, “Do not let thoughts of beets keep you from having fun.
” Whomever it was told our fortunes, in the end, looked clear through Godfrey and knew what I know only they and I knew…indeed he would pass into legend. And next year at the village harvest fair, where the cow pat was tossed, out of the great hall, six lovely onions grew.”