Saturday, 23 October 2010

A White Feather

I went for a walk along the river today.

Of course with my camera.

I saw this.

It reminded me of my grandad.

My grandad was in the British Navy, so you can imagine the stories he had to tell. My favourite was the one that saw him docked at some West African country, and he and his mates had been drinking the night away at some ramshackle bar that was made of sheet metal and old two-by-fours.

It was an utter dump, but the whiskey still got us drunk. 

My grandad would tell me how at one point in the night he staggered to his feet, headed to the back of the bar, past the kitchen, and went outside by the woodpile to relieve himself.

A beautiful night. Exotic. Warm breezes, a full moon, and every star in the sky was on. Everything was perfect except for that god damned chimpanzee that attacked me while I was taking a whiz! Scared the daylights out of me. It was someone's damn pet. A great big beast of a monkey. It was the bloody cook who saved me. Beat the damn monkey off with a frying pan.

I would laugh and laugh as I pictured what he was describing and ask, "Was the monkey okay?"

Of course it was fine. But what about me? I had whiz all down my pants.

"Okay, then what did you do!"

Well, I went back inside and rejoined my mates. 

"You went back inside! Even with whiz all down your pants!"

It's got to be six years since I last thought of this story. Last time I remember thinking about it, I had been sitting in Riverside Park beside the tree we planted in my grandad's memory. That afternoon, as I sat chuckling to myself, trying to commit every word of the story to memory, a white feather blew past me and got caught up on some weeds.

As I stared at the feather, caught in the weeds, I heard my grandad bark out a laugh before he replied:

Yes I went back inside, even with whiz all down my pants. We sailors were tough.

3 comments:

Habebi said...

LOL your grandad sounds like he was one funny guy. I'm glad you have such good stories to remember him by!

Ais said...

Why did the white feather remind you of that story though?

Caitie said...

Just because the last time I saw a white feather, I'd been thinking of that story. Then yesterday when I saw that one in the weeds I thought, 'oh yeah...'