KEVIN SLEPT THROUGH IT- The 57th Wisdom of Godfrey

Worzel here- The #50 bus comes along oft in Godfrey’s story- it runs the main city corridor here, he and I rode the bus often, Godfrey considered it a “Microcosim of the whirled”. I saw it as a red and white lozenge dispenser that spewed me out at rides end somewhat tattered round the edges. Only Godfrey could find wisdom on that wayward bus, and he did…

He was industrious for a committed Vagabond, my friend Godfrey, enjoying outdoor work, providing beets were not served or cultivated on the job, he always asked. Thus Godfrey was usually employed places that did not require an interview, and paid cash end of day. This odd, late summer, before heading south, he rode the #50 bus every morning, to join a crew painting a lighthouse.

“We are painting a lighthouse”, he wrote Beatrice. Out on the Fort Rodd Cape, high above the sea, I stand on scaffolding, wind up my kilt and scrape. Every morning Kevin, in same shirt and baggy shorts, (He works with us), races down the sidewalk for the #50 bus. He sleeps all the way, slack jaw agape, no matter how crowded the ride, I give him credit, Kevin sleeps through it.

There is oft loud quarreling about us on the bus one must endure, the smell of Egg breakfast, reek of stale alcohol in excess, riding the bus complaing because your life is a mess, freeloaders begging a ride at the door, in the early morning morass, see Kevin in the third row, oblivious in snore.

There was paint to be mixed, fish to buy on the docks, their were tourists Godfrey spied aground on the rocks. Kevin slept through it.

Kevin slept through the whales and seals passing, below the high lighthouse we were painting, slept till knock off time end of the day, Kevin slept the whole jolting ride from town, slept through Vinnie falling from the lighthouse all the way down. Kevin slept through free pizza on Friday, he slept while old Harry doled out our pay.

Kevin was asleep when old Harry paid him twice- he shared with the rest of us who rode that #50 bus. Kevin once asked of me,” Have you always been a poet?, Godfrey?. .”Indeed yes, I told him, since I was a boy” I have always slept, Kevin replied, a hobby that I truly enjoy”.

Kevin was asleep when the #50 bus, careened off the road suddenly, avoiding stray cattle, hitting lightly up against a tree. Builders tools, potatoes, cold coffee rained down on me, we carried Kevin out unhurt, using my kilt as a stretcher, and set him still asleep in the shade on the dirt.

Years later, Kevin wrote- “Yes, I remember Godfrey, and recall the wisdoms he taught me”. “I slept through my youth, woke on the #50 bus, wearing  lop sided name tag of a greasy hardware store, I awoke at 24. “We were painting a lighthouse, Godfrey insisting there was poetry all about , in the waft of seagull’s wings, the kelp beds at low tide, the morning sun climbing up the lighthouses side..he taught me to look beyond beets to the poetry in all of us, “For in this life we all ride a #50 bus”.

Finally awake, I took pen in hand, and oft am inspired on the path to Fort Rodd Cape, the lighthouse I never painted still stands vigil oer the strait. And warm days for memories sake, will find me napping in its shade, our names can be seen there, etched tiny in the paint, beginning now to fade, Vinny, Teresa, Godfrey, Harry, Kuldeep, Kevin…September, 1983. Although I slept through it, was Godfrey made sure they included me.

THE 57th WISDOM OF GODFREY STATES- We all ride a #50 bus called Earth, we all have a story, this Kevin taught me. “Only the sun and moon and stars can look down and choose to judge us”. For in this life we ride the same #50 bus”.

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8 thoughts on “KEVIN SLEPT THROUGH IT- The 57th Wisdom of Godfrey

  1. I’m trying not to be gushy because I love this story; “we are painting a lighthouse”, the #50 bus, sleepy Kevin (who finally woke up), and Worzel being ” spewed out at rides end somewhat tattered around the edges.” . I think I love Godfrey’s 57th wisdom the best of all wisdoms.

    • Why thank you Mercy- a rough week on the bus inspired me- a vicious, racist attack one morning, right by me. The chap accosted maintained his dignity through it all, but it was terrible. I am really glad this story will be read.

  2. Oh, boy, another Wisdom, one of my very favorite things. And this one is superb, because I believe we do all ride the #50 bus, carrying our unique stories, and judging one another even though we know we shouldn’t. I try not to, but sometimes must. I wouldn’t judge Kevin, though. I used to be able to sleep like him. Alas, no more. I’m sorry about the ugly incident on the bus and your bad week. Hope this one is better.

    • Good day Janet- It was awful, as I sat on the bus, a laborer sat one seat over, an east Indian chap got on, and brushed against the white guy to sit. All ugly broke lose from the white guy- with threats and foul words. The chap in the Turban just sat, in the dignity of non-violence. I hopped off at my work, apparently it got worse up the road. The racial hatred and anger here is well hidden. Kevin slept through it- this to is one of my favorite wisdoms, thanks for the read my dear.

  3. Oh, Sheila, picturing the man in the turban just sitting in the dignity of non-violence made me so sad. Yes, it was awful. I get sick to my stomach when exposed to such hatred and anger. How I hope the man in the turban has a strong, loving support system and the knowledge we are not all ugly people.

    • Thanks Janet- Indeed,it was a bad thing, but good has come, the thug has not returned, and people at the stop now talk to the Turbaned chap, when no one did before. Last night, a lozenge was passed the length of the bus to a woman having a coughing fit. It was a good week, and Kevin slept through it…

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