Sunday, June 21, 2009

Fathers' Day

So, what shall we do today, Old Man?

We could dig worms from the bank and put them in a jam jar and hold old half-broken fishing rods by the deep pools of the river. I could tell stories of how I used to catch fish by hand as a young fella, and how one day an eel caught me by the finger instead.

And what if it's too cold for standing by a river?

We could lift hay bales and feel the coarse, hard twine before it snaps at the touch of a sharp knife. I could throw the hay into the feeder and you could loosen it for the curious muzzles of the bullocks, nosing through the feed with their snaking tongues. I could tramp through the mud of the yard and grumble about landlords, kick the worst of the muck off at the lone tree. We could peer into the hollow in its side together at the robin's nest, empty now, but not long ago filled with hungry beaks that opened like inside-out umbrellas begging for food.

And what if the lone tree has fallen?

We could tug and pull at the cross-cut saw, sweating in flurries of sawdust. You could push too hard and bend the blade and I could worry and swear and we could go to the lane where the coal is left loosely. I'll shovel and you'll drop the bag or hold it open the wrong way looking at birds instead of concentrating.

And what if there's coal and timber enough in the house?

We could sit by the hearth and watch red-hot horsemen dance through the soot of the fireback, twist wire coat hangers into toasting forks and hang bread in front of the cinders. You'll scrape off the worst of the black where it's burned and I'll reach down the jam pot from the cupboard.

And what if the house has fallen?

You'll help me dig rows for potatoes in my new garden and pick colours for the walls of the new house. We'll plant a hedge and hang an iron gate and railings and paint a house number on a plaque and do a thousand other things.

And what if you tire of the new house?

We'll sit on bar stools and drink beers and speak in low voices about things between us. You'll look at me and notice the laughter lines and the roguish glint in my eye and we'll wonder where the time has all gone.

And what if the time has all gone?

You'll look at children and cats and dogs and green hills and purple mountains and all the things seen from your window and you'll remember how I loved them. And in the evening, you'll listen to the birds singing until nightime comes on and you're called to close the door.


Nelly said...

There was something about that moved me very much.

Willie_W said...

Thank you.

Angharod said...

Stopped by to explain why you've not seen me in SL...and now you've got me crying. SL isn't that important after reading this beautiful post.

Much love and admiration my friend. Catch up with you soon. I'm off to Montana in the morning.

Jo said...

Nice Willie, I was not too surprised at myself glancing at the Father's Day cards in the shop last week, it's kinda hard to not do such things. Especially living here in England and being used to having to think a week or so ahead ( hard to do in my case *S* ) at what dates are what. I wonder will it take very long before I stop thinking I must remember Dad's special days. Thinking of him and the way he did his own thing, BUT some really great ways about him I know it will take some time for me personally to overcome the fact he is not longer with us. I miss Dad. I used to wonder how some people mourned a loved one for so long, now I know. Joan

Fi said...

Will, that is such a beautiful piece, really lovely,