It was Tuesday, the day Godfrey and I set aside for being absurd. After a ridiculous amount of coffee, we walked to the supermarket, I rode in the cart, Godfrey implored the Produce Manager, to please explain to us, why were there beets? He was oddly quiet as we strolled home, to the flat over the luggage store. “Worzel, said he , I am mulling over wisdom in terms of the absurd,,..when one day you write my story, do include that ugly bed, in your parent’s house back in Saskatchewan. I was gob-smacked, had forgotten all about the Nasty Fold-Away Bed. It had never occurred, before knowing Godfrey that I could write or ever would. In our home town dwelt a very large family, the Zebs, there was a Zeb in every class, usually more than one. Every assembly or sports day a Zeb was always last. I shelleped through school unnoticed, in the rear of the room, surrounded by Zebs. Tough times came, Bob Zeb threw a grape at the map of Canada, (on the library wall), and moved the family out west, to Fanny Bay where the grape hit. My stepmother, Mrs Gibberflat gloried in all the Zebs left behind, and had the Nasty Fold-Away Bed hauled home..
.. I have oft griped and muttered over my dear step mother, Mrs Gibberflat who never threw anything out. I fully understand, now that I am old, her Victorian ways, and the bed she cherished, of which this story is about. With a half ton truck, old Butter our mule, a block and tackle, a tractor and stump pulling tool, a fold-away bed was dragged into our house. I missed the show, I was still in grade school. All we knew of it was that something nesting deep within it had died. The bed had aired for two years, on the Zeb’s verandah outside. I believe it was made of cast iron, stuffed with burlap, upholstered with some type of bristly hide. Sharp metal bars stuck out just far enough, to kneecap the innocent walking past. Mrs Gibberflat was delighted, a fold-away bed for the guest room at last!!
Mrs Gibberflat, armed with Raid and a broom, vanquished all that crawled in the bed, and every cocoon. The years fell away, a young woman now, I met up with Godfrey at the summer fair, when a beet he was hurling bonked me on the head. When too cold to camp in the snow or the damp, he stayed at our house in the nasty-fold away bed. A vagabond, he would come and go, and but for scars from the metal bars, the lingering smell, and hard lumps he slept well.
Was the following summer, a hot, sultry night. Ice tea was slurped, cream cakes we ate, scrabble was played until late. The guest room was stuffy where Godfrey stayed, he later explained the destructive uproars. “I bounced on the fold-away bed, clad in only my drawers” I reached up with a hockey stick the window to open wide, the nasty bed folded up with a clang, with my feet sticking out the side”.
“My screams were muffled, like a luncheon sausage in a bun was I, the lamp fell with a crash, I feared a dreadful way to die. “There were shouts on the stairs and a thump on my head, it took all Worzel’s family to pry me from that awful bed”. My dad offered to shoot the ugly old bed come high noon. We cried till we laughed, Godfrey called it The Twisted Bed Of Fold Away Doom. He politely declined further invites to stay in the room.
Mrs Gibberflat mourned her shattered lamp, my dad his stick from a game when he was shown in the crowd on T.V. All better now, Godfrey suggested more, scrabble, brownies and tea. It was long ago, so why now you ask, I finally tell this ridiculous story? The fold-away bed passed into legend, as years later so to would Godfrey. Randomly snapping, trapping the un-suspecting, conked out or napping. It clamped little brother Cudberth, as he was the type to bounce to see if it would. .. the bed folded up on our old Auntie Nell, we ran at the clang we had come to know well, had our aunt free in a minute. Came the day the old house was at last torn down, the nasty old fold-away bed was still in it. My dear brother, Inkerman saw the bed last, as Mrs Gibberflat’s car part collection was carted away, he reported – “It sits on a pile of rubble, impervious to age and decay”.
Godfrey sought the wisdom in a Thimble-berry leaf…softer than any velvet made by man. He brought that softness to his poetry, plucked it from his guitar strings, notes of understanding in his odd heart and mind. Played the tune as he would a trout, let it roll out and come back round again. “I have lived without walls, many a place I have lay down to sleep, from a pew with a view to sand soft and deep. Whether field of calves, or hammock, in crowded hut or motel alone, this is a wisdom I have known…a simple one- The 44th wisdom of Godfrey states- “There is no life story however absurd, that does not merit being shared in music and word”