SLIBBER SAUCE- AND OTHER STORIES

Worzel here, of late banished to blanket and turquoise chair, felled by a mardy nettercap of a cold, now that I can again see, I have carried on sorting Godfrey’s sister Alice’s fertilizer sack of memoirs, here are a few gems…

AUNTS IN THE GRASS- All photos are old, Alice swore, by the time you get done a roll, and develop film where allowed in a store. In Godfrey’s story, he possibly mentioned we had many aunts, here is a photo from Empire Day, 1956, he was four, and our many aunts out on the grass.

There were “Tugs of War’, and bands and parade, medals on chests of silver and brass, on the sunny domain they posed in the grass.  “We had the buxom aunt, two bickering ones, we had the perpetually pregnant aunt, the deluded one with the angelic son, we had aunts Lefty and Blue, (not really aunties, who knew?).

I was ten, I chased my brother Godfrey with beets in a pan, seeking solace mid our aunts in the grass he ran. Passing aunt Mavis, a prankster like me, and Gertrude who oft put him over her vast knee, caught was Godfrey, squeezed by great aunt Dot, the one who got married a lot…

I chased my brother Godfrey with beets on Empire Day,  chased him with auntie Cynthia, same age as me, past our aunts in the grass, and into the outhouse, we chased Godfrey.

PLATYPUS-   As this life I have near lived out has been ridiculous, grant please that in the next, I may return as a Platypus. To paddle neath the moon in a warm southern pool, and if anyone dares grab my tail, surprise them with offensive, fishy Platypus stool.

SLIBBER SAUCE-From Godfrey -“I  could smell the loneliness of cats, in the reek of hot, dry grass, passing Pettigrew’s  place where little else grows. Knowing Ma was not home and tea would be- Prepared By Alice, beets and Slibber Sauce. Never Haggis or potatoes, or even over rabbit, Slibber Sauce, how did your older sibling prepare it?

Using oil from sardines as a base, fat from the lid of dog food tin if she dared it. Memories clatter inside me, now I am much older, those long walks home, on days that could not be wetter or colder, Alice in apron down to her knees, blending Slibber Sauce, with old morning oatmeal, and blue bits scraped from the cheese.

“She made me peel beets that were scalding hot, I’d try to sneak off, but always got caught.  “Slibber Sauce , said Alice, will make you healthy and tall, with curly hair like I  have, so eat, Slibber Sauce poured over the beet”.

“I am strong, healthy, and though no hair ever curled, avoiding beets I am a roamer of the world”.”I dislike beets, vociferously, with Slibber Sauce especially.

RAISED BY VOWELS- From Godfrey-“ Raised by vowels”…he oft chuckled, now I understand what he was trying to say…as I lay here wheezing, pen in hand this winter Sunday…  

       Godfrey told me once, ” I call out to anyone who was raised by vowels,”who learned their letters as Alice and I did when very young. From a calendar in our cottage hung- beyond smoke stained walls, and damp valley gray, the pictures on it places we would see “one day”, promised our old Ma.

“I spoke Welsh as a child, I was raised by vowels, oh, there were consonants to, verbitage all about me in song and poetry”. “The flap of wash hung to dry in the breeze, drumming of guttersnipes feet chasing me”. “Sitting on Grandma’s ample knee, tracing the letters on her tobacco tin, where my penny for sweets was hidden”.

“I stood before my class to read aloud, a poem I’d written. “Raised By Vowels”. Read, “I shall tell a story from Sunday School, my sister Alice brought home, of being raised by vowels in ancient Rome”. “Everyone laughed, teacher threw chalk at my eight year old head”. “A note was sent to my Ma- Mrs Dyzfbr, your son is odd, it read. “I would like to discus this matter with you”. Ma boxed my ears, sent a note in return,” Indeed he is odd, and raised by vowels, no point in discussing it with you”.

Godfrey spoke for all who were raised by vowels…now I understand, life spent pen in hand. He was an odd young man, his poems were pleas….for understanding..for whirled peas…

I NEVER KNEW BORSCHT- From Worzel and Godfrey

Borscht- The very word reminded Godfrey “of the sloppy sound of rubber boot clad hordes, of bullies bearing beets chasing after me.” “I knew every alley, every loo and place to hide, the years I was a child who disliked beets, back home in Batley.

Worzel writes- “It was a Sunday morning, he’d gone out to fetch a paper, came home much later, with no paper, soaking wet.”I walked the wrong way, explained Godfrey, wrong way through the crowded Sunday market . “Borscht was on the lunch board  menu, at the bakery cafe, where I usually buy pastries on a Sunday”. “Borscht” on the next cafe sign outside in chalk, after quite an uphill walk”.  “Borscht”, in canning jars glinting crimson on the first market table, fresh beets piled high on the second and the third one”….

“The only time they say, as a baby I cried, is when beets were served by my dear loving Ma, boiled or fried”. “Sister Alice told me beets came from rendered Slibber Sauce, made from old trolls when they die. “Back then I never knew Borscht, or why.’ Many years passed…

“There was a thick rime of fat round the rim of the ancient jar, beets seepage had formed rust…twas Worzel’s Grandma and Grandpa invited us for lunch, not long after we met”. “it was a long drive cross the prairie to Neepawa, with her stepmother Mrs Gibberflat in the car”. Godfrey recalls- “It was a sad house, a worn out yard of scorched brown grass, never really a lawn, smelling foul of tom-cat, old tractor parts strewn about” . “I sat alone on the steps as inside the family quarreled, over the jar of Borscht for lunch,( they had nothing else), or going out’. “The Hotel Neepawa had a buffet we never saw, Worzel ate the Borscht  to be polite”. “She spent the journey home with her feet on me, head in the only paper bag that we had, was not a pleasant  drive home that night”.

“I disliked beets, thus had no lunch or food, we bought a load of groceries for the Grandparents, before we left and the entire family spewed” “So, you ask where is the paper I went out to get, and the pastries, the coffee cream, the lemon you requested, and why am I late back, and soaking wet?”.   “I walked the wrong way through the market square, paused by the table of a woman selling old books and used “tat”, panting beneath it a pompous poodle sat, the samosa seller gave me water for free, when I gave it to the dog’s owner, noted how much they looked alike, she dumped the cold bowl over me..”Twas all because of Borscht, I walked the wrong way through the market, that Sunday, wrote Godfrey”

MARGO ALIVE (In a green quart jar) – From WORZEL

I use it to this day, as a paperweight, as a rain-bow charmer when the summer sun hits it at 2:00 in the afternoon, threaten my husband with if he complains of aching “thrips”. Among the small gifts left to me from Godfrey, on a shelf beneath his cherished painting- “The Buttocks”, a book, “My love was a Toreador”, and his Chupa street guitar…forever will be “Margo Alive” in a green, quart jar.

He was a magnet for tawdry bum-trinkets, loved the odder ice-cream flavors. Oh, and the velvet paintings, the mardy romance novels Godfrey gave me. He was very concerned though, one week early New Year, when I felt poorly. And though cautious of the health food store, “so many beet products he reported, “horrifying and bizarre” He was sold by a comely, young clerk in a smock, Margo Alive Tonic, in a green quart jar.

It was only a touch of a cold felled me, and a slight wheeze Godfrey called a “Flerd” in the chest. Garnet minded the shop so I could curl up in my turquoise chair, and simply rest. I read the label on the jar, that appeared to Godfrey , perhaps be “older than we are”. ..Margo Alive will help you laugh and love and thrive, in a week or several months you’ll feel brand new- highly effective for “Chill of The Liver”, contains Wild Icchen, has cured “Hives” and “Lady’s Unmentionables “since 1822”.   On the label , crudely rendered was a portrait, presumably of Margo, wearing nettercap as on her deathbed lay. On the reverse Margo frolicked with her Beau, in a field of flowers, vibrant,young, and gay. “Take 2 tablespoons, read Godfrey, 3 times a day”. It smelled like a concoction my stepmother, Mrs Gibberflat, mixed up for us to soak our feet. It contained extract of wild strawberry, no artificial color, no essence of beet, it was the last bottle the shop had to sell, Margo Alive promises to make you well. “Trust in life, spoons up said I, and swallowed the syrup down.

It flew right back up, as I leaned alone in our loo. Godfrey whispering outside the door, “Worzel dear, is the Margo alive helping you?.  It was more bitter than the worst tasting moth, more bitter than coal-tar soap after swearing, worse than squid ink or ground reptile scales could be.It burned my eyes, as I knelt by the toilet pan on one knee. “Worzel, he asked again through the door, has it lessened the wheeze”?. “Mow-Wallop, I drooled, ong tongued, paggle my throat, how it did quop. Slibber Sauce, Slibber Sauce, I took Margo Alive, and managed against all odds to survive. I let him in, Godfrey laughed so long, he lay on his side across the cold bathroom floor. “Shall I return the unused Margo alive to the Health Food store?

Margo Alive will make you laugh and love and thrive, in a week or several months you’ll feel brand new. Highly effective on all ailments “Scrubbado”..” Quenders” and the dreaded “Bronstops” rash, will no longer ever worry you.