Here in elder-hood, to Beatrice’s dismay, and the memory of Godfrey’s muttered “Feh”, I am learning to Goolgley on a computery thingy…Googley the balladeer in this story, muck about with wee pictures until you see one of this chap, and lauded poet, heads bowed together, listening intensely . Afternoon tea detritus is strewn on their table, in the background, caught in camera flash, and looking somewhat owlish- cheeks a bulge is Godfrey.
For reasons I never fathomed, he would oft fill his face with ginger snaps, then as he gazed deeply into my eyes, ever so slowly, begin drooling…thus he was caught, pre-drool, as he recognized the two chaps sitting across from us.
Twas indeed, if memory serves, a Tuesday, Godfrey wrote, in the company of Worzel, splashing out for High Tea- I wore my best kilt, she brought a fan from Chinatown, to wave like a coquette, down the harbor we strolled, splashing out in puddles, the cool July wet.
“My cotton shirt was faded, worn thin cross cuff and shoulders from the knapsack of books I was never without and hand-bound diary.”Arm in arm I escorted my fine friend to our table, by the fireplace where our socks would dry- two hobos at High Tea”.
Ladies daubed lips puce from “Dewberry Preserves” we had grown up calling jam. I snitched Worzel’s ginger snaps as was my habit, as she poured the Oolong, “Pinkies up she said, Madam”.
Was then I saw them, two tables over, intent on private conversation, poets I knew from book and record album cover. One chap was a balladeer, one a literary laureate, the dessert cart came, almond tarts, biscuits for dunking, tiny, coiled iced cinnamon innards, I could not hear the poets for it’s clunking.
Worzel saw the two- “Why I grew up on his music!, I passed it on to you, bold songs of struggle, gentle observations written in winter solitude, railways and ships sinking, as ships in all songs seem to. Even my dad listened when he put out a new album, as did Mrs Gibberflat, out step-mum.
“Use my fan if you get the vapors, do not choke on crumbs or gawk, whatever do great minds discuss when they talk?”. “Perhaps shared memories of festivals or stages, small town tales, that writing cottage in Muskoka, paddles deep in dark waters, urban wilderness, years lost to back pages and the Gutter Press”.
Our reverie’ interrupted only by the maitre’d- inquiring politely – in the company of legends we sat- “Long ago at The Empress, sat two hobos at High Tea.”