maternal grandpop of your truly,
cap slammed permanently down upon his head
(often have I seen him nude but for the cap;
never have I seen him minus it - he sleeps in it),
cycles - now and then unsteadily -
Along Glebe Path and into Western Road
to see a man about a dog.
(God knows which man or what about the dog!)
He encounters Mrs Heppleweight - or she
encounters him, her ample weight
obstructing the dark narrowness of path
into which he aims the bike, still more unsteadily.
Hi, Charlie, how are you today?
"Hard up and happy, Mrs Heppleweight! Hard
up and happy, thank you this good day!"
He turns away and heads back for the road.
There, Mrs Garwood. Morning, Charlie,
And how are we today? "Can't say for you,
now Mrs Garwoood, but for me, I'm
Hard up and happy - same as yesterday!"
But now his luck runs out. He runs slap into -
physically into - Dr Shellswell, who has banned -
has "banned and then forbidden" him
to ride his bike. And so he makes for home,
his tail beneath his shirt tail. Walks his bike.
Returning prematurely, he collects
Grandma's large enamel bowl and vanishes
behind the loganberry trellises. Meanwhile,
Small Jack - six feet something,
distant cousin umpteen times removed,
kept goal for Sunderland, or somewhere
thereabouts, arrives to teach me how to kick
a football with a modicum of venom.
He talks a bit, then demonstrates. The ball takes off,
flies high above the rose bed - just as Grandpop
reappears, complete with Gran's enamel bowl.
The football catches him beside the temple.
He goes down like he's been poleaxed.
The family flap round. And even when
he smiles again, we're still at panic stations.
Only the cap remains unmoved.
At the moment this is still only a thought: that I might try posting a Suburban Village sketch each Monday morning based on actual characters and/or incidents from my childhood environment.
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