One Reply to “3.10.2015 Journal Prompt”

  1. My da’s full of shit, I reckon. He tells stories and stuff and they’re just stories and they’ve taken a step sideways from the truth and just kept going. Like he says one year he survived on tinned peas and nothing else. They’d won a year’s supply in this competition and a year’s supply was a promise to be as many tins as a family could eat in a year, so they ate nothing but peas. And he says their skin was green and their hair green, too, and their brains was pea-sized. He laughs when he says that ’bout the brains, and right there you know he’s talking shit.

    Maybe it’s supposed to be a joke of sorts only it wears a little thin, you now, when he tells it again and again down the years, and a little added to it each time. And we listen, shaking our heads, and nodding when there’s something we recognize from before, and then nodding some more when he gets to the end and the bit about the brains. And if there’s someone in the company who was there back when, he calls on ‘em to bear witness that what he says is true.

    Our old gran, old as milk in churns and eggs in nests, and she says that thing ‘bout the peas is near to the truth. They did win a year’s supply of peas and it was from the grocer’s shop on Main Street, and it sure felt like all they was eating was peas, and they made jokes at the table ’bout being green with envy over someone eating carrots; and they didn’t eat peas for years afterwards and they still push ’em ’bout the plate if they is served ’em today. But there’s meat and potatoes in gran’s story, and custard and apple pie, and bread with butter and sugar on. Not just peas like da says.

    And he says he once worked for a month without sleep. A whole month, he says, can you imagine? He had three jobs then and he isn’t complaining ‘bout that. He says everyone had three jobs and he says none of ‘em back then was work-shy like kids is today. Back then people knew what was what. He baked bread in an all-night bakery, punching dough like he was a boxer in a bell-never-ringing fight, and he says the smell was the nearest he ever got to heaven, ‘specially when they was near to Easter and there was cinnamon and sugar in the bread. And he sold seed and fruit trees by day and he says he’s responsible for half the flowers in the country and half the apples and pears and plums and he tells it like he’s Johnny Appleseed singlehandedly changing the world. And he worked the boats by the shore, between the bread and the fruit, tying ‘em up and unloading the fish they’d caught, and selling that fish, too.

    A whole month of no sleep, and surely that ain’t possible. And someone says that to him, and he admits then that’s he’s not exactly telling it like it was, and he says they slept sometimes standing up at the bakery, and between customers in the seed shop and tree nursery, and laid out on the stone pier when a boat was slow coming in. Da says he could sleep on the edge of a knife if he had a mind to and he wouldn’t grumble ‘bout it neither.

    But he throws things at the tv some days. Cups and plates and glasses, he throws. And he spits and swears like swear-words is a bad taste in his mouth. And he complains ‘gainst the adverts that say the world should be dazzling white, and toothpaste smiles, and bread and honey living. He says kids today got it easy and soft; too easy and too soft, he says, so as they won’t have nothing to tell their kids when they is old, nothing at all.

    I don’t know if he’s right, our da, but I let him shout at the tv without saying nothing ‘gainst it, and I listen to his stories of pea-sized brains in the family, and bread as heaven, and da filling up the food baskets of the whole country with the labour of his two hands. And though I know he talks shit, I don’t really mind, not even though I’ve heard it all before and not even thought the jokes have worn thin as gossamer.

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