Sunday, 13 January 2013

The First Piece of the Year

The First Piece of the New Year
Chase the Lady was always my game of choice.  The family 
squabbles are now a fond memory and one I cherish. My 
family were the mavericks of the town.  The butcher's shop 
my father inherited was central to the small country 
community where the slaughtering of animals and the the 
cries of midnight foxes could judder even me from deep 
dreaming sleep.
I would always win the card games every Saturday night, 
much to the chagrin of my raucous family.  My brothers and 
I would cheat, bet and play long into the night.  My father 
would benignly look on, refusing to arbitrate, but instead 
play at being the minstrel.  Strumming on his battered
guitar singing Elvis Presley songs until we boys would scream 
for him to leave us be.  We would deride him for his awful 
voice, but secretly I thought him very good.  I was thoroughly 
jealous of his talent, skills and general good looks.
I could understand how lady customers admired his strong arms 
and his muscles as he wrapped up their lamb chops.
They would nervously finger their cheap jewellery and flash 
their best smiles in the forlorn hope of luring him away from 
the home, the shop, and his beloved boys.
My father was a widow who had carved a unique place for himself 
as eligible but unattainable.  Surely the best position in a 
small town.
It was the reverse for the Misses Fiddlehead and Fiddlesticks, 
who in turn beguiled him and our family.  A duo of unmarried 
sisters, their real names were Frances and Fiona.  They gave 
private music and singing lessons, and voice and drama training 
to we three boys.  Spiritual without being stuffy or boring, 
they had become Godparents to all of us, as well as our musical 
I still have my little baby cutlery set from that time, pristine 
still, it always sits on my "special" shelf.  The two small 
silver items lie nestled in their blood red velvet box, unused but 
forever cherished. 
My brothers received variously silver teething rings or 
christening mugs, but I love my little spoons.
The sisters were much older than my father, always sprightly, 
eccentric and musically alive.  They would pedal around town calling 
at various houses, music sheets flying away in the fierce wind that 
blew incessantly off the St. George's Channel.
The copyright of this post belongs to Valerie Rule 

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