This has been quite an eventful week, I suppose in the fullness of time we should expect, at this the darkest and coldest part of the year, that some old friends might simply fade away. The year began with what I took to be an aberration, and that was in reply to my grandson and my wife, I opened my mouth and my father spoke! I asked my grandson if he had done what I told him to do, and he said ‘I thought I would do it tomorrow!‘ And the voice from nowhere said in Scots ‘weel, ye ken whit thoucht did, he planted a feather and thoucht it would grow into a chicken‘. Whereupon the said grandson looked at me as though I was entirely devoid of sense and walked away. Having gone home, I discovered that my wife was having a row with the bank on the telephone, and to my horror she made some really strident criticisms of their ability to carry out her wishes, and hung up and the voice said ‘ye can catch mair fleas wi’ jam than vinegar‘. We have discussed her dislike of the dialect in previous blogs, but this time, her retort is unprintable!
However, if you live in a small town as we do, it is habitual to glance at the funeral notices in the newsagents window. This morning on my way for the Glasgow Herald, without which my wife cannot survive, I saw to my horror an announcement that one of my actresses from a previous life (not what you might think: I was the producer!) but for over twenty years, a group of ten to twenty people from the local WRI, read, rehearsed and eventually performed one-act plays, usually Scottish comedies, and began going to festivals in the nearest large town, and then eventually to regional and national competitions, one of which we eventually won. This activity meant my spending one, if not two nights, a week and all Sunday afternoon at the village hall with them, and this spilled over into outings and visits and generally highly rewarding and enjoyable camaraderie. And sadly this morning Jenny, one of the most boisterous members of the group, was one of the names on one of the notices. It took my breath away and turned my legs to jelly as I thought of the life which she had lived to the full. Having gone home to have a cup of coffee, and it being too early in the day to have a whisky!, my wife said ‘maybe you should phone one or two of the others and see of they know‘. So I did, the first actress said ‘I am sorry Rob, I won’t be at the funeral, my spine finally collapsed and I am bed ridden‘. So I said ‘will so and so and Jimmy be there?‘, ‘Poor Rob’, she said, ‘did you not know he died in November?‘. And for the third and hopefully the last time, the memory of sitting, holding my father’s hand as he slipped away returned, as he briefly opened his eyes and said ‘ah, aye tellt you whit’s fur you will no go by you‘, and with that he let out a long deep sigh and went off to meet his maker.
After mornings like this, he was undeniably correct.