THE FISH LADY’S STORY- a TWOLOGY- from Maria Tilapia

He was an odd little boy who disliked beets..ruggedy my memories of Godfrey. How I came to  Wales from my homeland Peru, well it is a whole other story.

His is one of kindness, gather about and I’ll tell it to you.   He was a stalwart little chap, he truly struggled not to cry the day that I- Maria The Fish Lady had to gently pry, his tongue stuck to a frozen pole. In a baggy kilt, the woolly tail of his horse-sweater drooped in the gutter. Helpful townsfolk came with beets, lard and butter, with warm fish broth we melted him free.

There was the spitting nurse, the mortician, three retired farmers helping me.   From that day on he would wander by my fish shop, used his charms to beg herring that I, no fool knew that he used to tease his sister. He told us, “Ma went to slap Alice but missed her, and hit me, thus the bent lip and bruises that you see.”   No one thought to ask Godfrey why he spoke only in rhyme. Old Dr Quart said, “I have measured his head, he will grow out of such utter nonsense in time” In special class his boots did not reach the floor below his over sized desk, scratched and carved by special children gone before.

“How on earth does he manage, to create poetry of sums”?  Bellowed the aptly named Mr Lord, making Godfrey write, “I WILL NOT BE ODD”, one hundred times on the chalk board.   “His Grandmother drank”, I have her to thank his Ma reported. She sang, they watched Lawrence Welk together, she laughed all the time, a bad influence she was, when tipsy, he learned to speak as Granny did, in rhyme.    Knowing Godfrey’s curiosity was Aardvark in pre-portion to his size, his sister Alice paid my daughter Clementine , to place a tub of old, cold fish water, high on a shelf telling her brother, “In it is hidden a surprise”..

..Unable to contain himself, with glee unbound, and the girls hiding neath a counter, he piled up boxes, scaled the shelf, grabbed the tub of stinking  water and was flaming near drowned.  He crawled, spewking to my feet, they put fish heads and a beet in the nasty mix. My Clementine was ten years old, Godfrey only six.  “I never smacked my Clementine, be kind I taught her, “Need I have to remind you, of the teasing you endured being different, when we came here from our home in Peru”.

She was bright, strong and determined, my rumbustious daughter, she was big hearted, clever and daring. As Godfrey grew older I could tell he was smitten, when he dropped by the shop to beg herring. His friend Beatrice, did not a prove of the two, claimed Clementine was seen behind the Bus Depot,” drinking from a paper bag with a chap she did not know.”

In her fish-lady smock, she’d meet Godfrey to walk with her home. He baked treats for us, we sat in the kitchen, for he would talk, of anything but beets.  It had bee ten years since I peeled him from the pole, since I slipped him Haddock scraps for his Ma’s Cullen Skink, since the many times I dunked him in the shop sink, when he’d been pelted with frozen beets rolled in manure.

..Because of beets, he told us, Ma has thrown Alice and I out this time for sure. “I dislike beets, am allergic to daisies and bug-stings, but I am off to see the whirled despite these things!!. My Clementine spoke softly, “I am traveling soon then to”, we will meet again I believe with all my heart, someday in Peru.    Later that night, with the household abed, heard the music start up low, heard the shnurr of bare feet  on the floor over head as they danced. Godfrey called Clementine, “the grit who is my pearl”.

She could fling him over her shoulder, never claimed to more, than only a Fish Lady’s Girl….


2 thoughts on “THE FISH LADY’S STORY- a TWOLOGY- from Maria Tilapia

  1. What a compliment: “the grit who is my pearl.” Only you and Godfrey could come up with it, Sheila. This is another post that had me moving from laughter to tears. I read it more than once.

  2. Thanks Janet- was Sunday afternoon, my feet were cold and I posted my “Twology” backwards. The laughter/tears end in a good laugh is my only goal, and you a fine critic. Wonder if I had been your student how it would have turned in..

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