Posted on October 21, 2012 by Patricia Ann McNairDaily Journal Prompt #288 October 21, 2012: In my father’s pocket… Share this:ShareClick to email a link to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Like this:Like Loading... Related
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Our da’s like a big kid. That’s what mam says. He don’t have the sense that God gave ducks and ‘bout all he’s good for is sitting on his jacksie and picking his ears. That’s what mam says when she’s mad – mad as wasps that has been swatted or bulls that has been poked. And she breaks things when she’s mad: plates and cups and windows. Even a mirror she broke once and she says that da is her seven years of bad luck for doing that.
And da’d go sit it out in the shed till she was past being mad – sitting on his jacksie like mam said. And he’d have music playing in there, an old transistor radio that he’d fixed up. And he read the newspaper, cover to cover, and smoked Camel brand cigarettes till the window was fugged up and you couldn’t see in and drank beer out of a bottle.
Then, when he thought the coast was clear, he’d come back into the house and there’d be the smell of meat cooking, and onions, and cabbage being boiled to within an inch of its life. And mam’d be all quiet and soft. And da would steal up behind her and put his arms around her middle and he’d kiss her neck and tell her she was beautiful, perhaps the most beautiful. And like that the world was set back on its feet.
And da’d come through to us kids after that, and we’d be sitting quiet and watching the tele with the sound low enough it din’t upset mam. And da sitting in his chair made hardly any noise at all, but it was enough we couldn’t hear what was said on the tele and so we hushed our da to quiet.
But we’d lose interest then cos da’d be fiddling in his pockets and that took our attention more than cowboys or Lassie. And we’d pretend like we din’t want to know, ‘cept we was too eager. And Connie’d say it first, asking what it was da had today in his pockets, and we’d all join in with the asking then.
Da’d draw breath and hold it, puffball in his cheeks, building up the suspense. And mam’d shout through that he wasn’t to go getting us over excited just before dinner. And da’d pull something out of his pocket and at first it’d be ordinary and even a little disappointing. Like a beer bottle top or a bent penny or a bus ticket folded into a paper concertina. And da’d just look at it in the outstretched palm of his hand and his face would be all of wonder at what he was looking at. And he’d say, his voice hushed like prayer, ‘Do you know what that is?’
Connie’d say it was a beer bottle top or a bent penny or a bus ticket, and saying that it was like she din’t get it. We knew better and we shook our heads in silence and waited for our da to tell us more.
‘It looks like a beer bottle top, that I’ll grant you,’ said our da, but really it’s a crown worn by the faerie king and I caught him in a sack once when I was snaring rabbits and he was such a flibbertigibbet with stories of gold and silver buried at the ends of rainbows and horses that could fly and other such nonsense. I don’t doubt but that he could talk the hind legs off a donkey if he’d a mind to. And he promised to grant me three wishes if I was to set him free. I wished for his crown first off, for it was such a perfectly pretty wee thing. And next I wished for the most beautiful woman in all of the country – and I got your mam.’
‘And what did you wish for your third wish da?’ said Connie.
‘Well now, see, I’m still making my mind up for that,’ said da, and we all of us were alive with suggestions on what he could wish for – what we would wish for.
‘And maybe it is a bent penny,’ said our da, ‘and maybe that’s all it is, but it wasn’t always bent. There was a man in the pub, see, and I swear this is the truth, and a handsome man he was, too, and all the girls in the pub was trying to catch his eye, and he upped and bragged that he once kissed a hundred women in a single day, a hundred of the prettiest women in all the world, and all for the price of a pound. And he winked and tapped the side of his nose with his finger’, and our da winked and tapped his nose, ‘and he kissed the Queen’s head on that penny, and we all of us laughed at that so he kissed her again and again and again – maybe a hundred kisses. And even a Queen may bend with a kiss from a good-looking man, see how she bends,’ and pa held up the Queen’s head bent penny for us to see.
‘And what about the bus ticket, da?’ said Connie.
‘S’just a bus ticket,’ da said, cos he could see our beautiful mam was standing Queen at the door and she was waiting for da to finish his story and tapping her feet cos the dinner was on the table by this time and she din’t ever want the dinner to get cold before it was eaten.