Struthious, Godfrey was known to mutter, I was used to his grumbling in Welsh, and thought little of it- so long ago it was … “Struthious” was generally reserved for the card his curmudgeon sister, Alice sent every three years on her birthday. Godfrey collected his post at our address, so oft there were a couple of pieces from Alice- the card always the same silly Ostrich wearing a party hat, Alice berating him for being away a vagabond, and the burden it placed on her. This is a classic work from her biography- “Alice- A Life in Praise Of Myself”
“No manner of insult worries me”, wrote Alice. “I only take umbrage at being called “Struthious”. Call me a maundering netter-cap, or witch or otter-pot, call me what you will, “Struthious” I am not.
“I do not possess a long, crepey neck, with wee head perched on the end, or eyes big and round for to stare cross the sand, and I do not race cross desert brown. Dare call me “Struthious” if we meet on the street of Skibereen Town. My winter coat is a faded gray, as I have worn it many years, and if a few feathers poke motley from holes in the sleeve and the hem drags when I sit , call me a moultry curmudgeon shrew, it bothers me not one bit”.
“Struthious” I am not. My legs are strong from walking with Arthur in his bath-chair pushing him, I do not grow long claws, my feet are dainty and trim. I merely prank those who are rude, especially the idle rich, call me as attractive as week old congealed Junket, call me a bat strayed on board a wayward bus, just never call me please, “Struthious”.
When I am hard at work selling shoes, or when arrested at dawn putting dresses on statues, oft hear the low muttering, “It was that Alice”, “Wore a feather boa as a tail in church”, unrepentant she is, daft and “Struthious”. I have a fond companion, Nudge Giggleswick, we play music together down the market. Nudge keeps time, on a length of rubber hose, and in the more lugubrious places Nudge knows…the only time he is serious, is when someone describes me as “Struthious”.
Argle-bargle, Dangwallet, Quenders to you, beets in broth and the jolly eel stew, let not” CER i grafu”ever come between us, Nudge sang neath my window with his hose- Dear Alice you are not “Struthious”.
I encouraged my brother,( Godfrey disliked beets) but apart from that would do as I say, when very small to march up to his teacher, and tell her- “Miss, you look very Struthious today”. A learned individual she understood what the wee chap said, learned though lacking in humor, as I hid neath the stairs Miss slapped Godfrey over the head..From Alice.