Ah, my fourth year spent compiling Godfrey’s story, an ever evolving memoir of myth, saga, random scattering along his paths.
I also had to tend the irksomes of daily living, like wearing shoes and running our luggage shop, which was now attracting more visitors who wished to discuss poetry than purchase a suitcase, or have an ancient satchel repaired….Today, the rusty cow-bell from our ranching days we hung above the door clanked, and into Godfrey’s Luggage, strode a Peeler of Carrots.
After a shy poke about, and spin of displayed suitcase wheel, and brief introductions she told me her story. “Oh I met up with your Godfrey, he was tilting his head, peering up at a sign- “Little Denmark Chinese and Canadian Cuisine”, it read. “An odd looking chap, somewhere south of middle age, curious he was of dress and face. “No Pasaran Beets” said a faded sticker, over a hole in his red and black plaid suitcase”. “He saw me staring, and as I drew near, with a side-ways smile asked, “Little Denmark Chinese and Canadian Cuisine”?, do you work here?. With a glance from the sign to the stains on my hands and old pants that carrot pulp had made, said Godfrey, “I deduce that you, must be a carrot peeler by trade”? “He disliked beets, I told her, but would talk to anyone of anything, I hung the “Closed” sign and we chatted neath the bug chandelier in my old buildings lobby, “He considered it something of a Vagabonds hobby”. ” The carrot peeler understood, told me her story. “In youth, I to were a rollicky girl, out on the road round the country I strayed, I chose love and laughter over worry for my future, for job over well paid career, I have no regrets, I peel carrots”.
Dump the sack by the sink, rinse em off, lob the knob, with peeler in hand, simply get on with the job. “Peel clean and true, sing as you scrape till the long shift is through”. ” Carrot cake and carrot soup, carrot juice good for you, parings pailed as pig-feed, posh and pretty, carrot garnishes that curl, unheralded she toils in the slippery bits and swill, writes poetry in private times, this carrot peeling girl” “Now, to most, my meeting Godfrey will be perceived as of little interest, added nought of value to the turning of the world” “But as I trim, and pare and peel, I recall his quiet wisdom as we sat that autumn afternoon, neath the witch hazel tree in Bastion Square, and the words he chalked, for all to read and see on the pavement there”. A CARROT PEELER- of Great Dignity- From Godfrey- A kindly autumn afternoon. I saw that she saw the humor in why I saw what I did. Neath a baffling sign on a restaurant wall in the old city square. Boldly to, she looked up, peeler in hand, one lone shred of carrot hung in her silver hair. Damp, stained apron, sensible trousers a laborer may wear. She toils, often griped at, grading the fish, the tomatoes,the fruit, long hours peeling carrots, unattractive hair-net, damp gum-boot. “She told me with pride- “I will never trade my carrot sink for any lonely desk or expensive shoes and itchy business suit” “I remember “Little Denmark Chinese and Canadian Cuisine”‘ though it is now many years gone, no sign, any more, no restaurant near the old witch hazel tree.” But I think of it often, when words in chalk, are left to wash clean. I linger there, recall the words Godfrey wrote, for gone to is the Carrot Peeler, Betsy- of old Bastion Square..