A lumbering, red and gold striped van passed me on the street recently, a memory came behind in it’s exhaust fumes, of my first vehicle,” Betty Ford”. Betty was 18 feet long, swayed and yawed around bends, dragged herself up hills, and had a general air of “Dubious Past”. I had recently met Godfrey, he and my brothers, Cudberth and Inkerman decked Betty out in deep, red crushed velvet curtains and gold pom-poms. We all had fun, as Betty was fully camper-ised, showing Godfrey about the countryside. Here is a story from that first summer..
Long years ago I drove with Godfrey, to the town Portage La Prairie, at the only stoplight halted, there the side view mirror of my old van fell off with a clang. We were outside Irving’s Donuts, a warm summers night, the place was full of farmers, all seed capped and dusty, of blueberry fritters, yes I ate more than three, and happily, pen in hand sat with Godfrey. “He said I knew, as did you when that mirror did not shatter, middle of town, was time for treats and coffee and to write a story down.’
Stated Godfrey- Nubivagant!, moving among clouds. A word to ponder and distract me, for he had one slate blue eye on my donut, his other out the window at the Manitoba sky. He read- Gulls chasing a lone crow, a very high flag pole, banner listless droops low. Odd dust whirly from recently swathed barley, being trucked past to the bin. Far offish purple thunderheads, lightning provoking the innocent sky from within- Nubivagant.
Wordplay, over coffee with Godfrey, he was hopeless at “Scrabble”, but “You Bet Your Donut” was a game he would usually win. Nubivagant, you say my friend, taking note then my other donut was gone. Picture elderly folks dressed in pressed whites, bowling outside on impeccably groomed lawn, “The sun, mutters Vern, was Nubivagant when I awoke at dawn”. “Down the beach I swam, as always a cool dip with no swim togs on”. “Several young ladies from the Youth Hostel strolled to, my fair beach this day, but pointing skyward, on the clouds, lovely colors were hung to dress the sun, pretty for her daily western journey. The ladies passed, giggling right by me…Nubivagant..
Moving among clouds of icing sugar works the baker. Nubivagant in steam from sink, fryer and freezer, whistling as she works, mind on the farmers who tease her, on coffee break, on the holiday down east she saves to take.
Godfrey’s turn- I am a small boy again, back home in Wales. Maybe six years of growing, I have my knitted horse sweater on and it is snowing. The snow is deep and I am very short, I dance and snort as horses did, in a story read me from my Grandma. “She read, he raced the clouds, a galloper, just a colt shipped off to war- his name was “Northern Bluestar”
He was an odd young man, he disliked beets, if not for beets, would talk to anyone of anything. A committed lifelong vagabond, happy wandering head frequently in clouds, truly Nubivagant moved Godfrey.