Granny Red

Granny Red 

Paul Beech


Another one sails up in a skirl of buggy wheels.  ‘Hiya, hiya,’ to the mums.  ‘Hiya,’ to Tom.

Big soft Tom is popular with the mums, unlike the grizzled geezer with a bald crown.  He’d chance a greeting himself – course he would – if only they’d meet his eye.  It makes him feel an oddity…no, invisible.

Perched on the weathervane, a rook calls over the schoolyard, its raucous cry tripping into something nearly speech, something nearly the jabber of the clustered mums.

As the bell rings for home time (or park time, as it is for most of the kids), he becomes aware of a woman at his side.  She’s about his own age, pretty in her day, now blond-on-grey, a granny in a red coat.  Her smile is timorous, his grin almost foolish.  Their granddaughters are best friends.  And here they come now with their bags and lunchboxes, his little goblin and her little princess, all in a rush to be scooped up and twirled around.

Week after week, at the village park, Goblin and Princess scream delightedly as he propels them into orbit in the basket-swing.  He has a bad back, so it’s a relief when they join their mates racing this way and that, like starlings.  It’s now that Geezer and Granny Red enjoy a good chat.

Back in the sixties they danced in the same clubs, maybe even danced together, who knows?  They share a passion for local history and a passion for books.  And when the winter comes, bringing snow, bringing fieldfares into gardens, they discover a common interest in birds.  Often they have a laugh – oh yes, they have their private jokes!

The seasons have changed and changed again since their last time together.  Princess is at a new school now; Goblin has other good friends.  Occasionally he’ll glimpse red and spin…his almost foolish grin dying slowly.  A rook calls over the park as shadows gather and one by one the mums depart in a skirl of buggy wheels.  ‘Seeya, seeya… Seeya later, Tom.’

Geezer and Goblin will stop until dusk.  They’re having the time of their lives.


Copyright © Paul Beech 2011

(Previously published on the author’s blog, Grandy’s Landing.)


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