Her therapeutic swearing

By David Grima | Jan 03, 2013

My attention has been drawn to a recent article in the Daily Telegraph, a British newspaper, of which the first half follows:

“Alun Morgan, 81, was evacuated to Wales during the Second World War but left 70 years ago.

“During his time there he was surrounded by Welsh speakers but never learned the language himself.

“He left the country aged 10 and lived his life in England and recently suffered a severe stroke.

“But when Mr. Morgan regained consciousness three weeks later, doctors discovered he was speaking Welsh and could not remember any English.

“It is thought that the Welsh Mr. Morgan heard as a boy had sunk in without him knowing and was unlocked after he suffered the stroke.

“Mr. Morgan, who is retired and lives with his wife Yvonne in Bathwick, Somerset, is now being taught to speak English again.

“‘I’d not lived in Wales since I was evacuated there during the war. Gradually the English words came back, but it wasn't easy,’ he said.”

Amazing, I say.

* * * * *

Well, I have answered the biggest question that faced me since I came to live up here in the grain towers at the bottom of Mechanic Street, last March. How will I face the first really big winter storm up here?

It turns out to have been not so bad after all. I simply moved in to the space under my bed and spent the howling night hours there. In the morning my bed had been turned into an igloo of sorts, and we all know that igloos are nice and cozy places full of Eskimos.

After asking these particular Eskimos to leave, I found I had enough space under my bed in which to open a can of baked beans and warm it over a pair of seagulls, for breakfast.

The previous night I had attended a Christmas gathering on State Street, only a few blocks from the east tower. The party involved drinking some kind of ferocious home-concocted grog which our host said is called Gloog, and bellowing out carols around the piano played in a key that I cannot sing until my voice was quite ruined.

Somehow I made it back to the towers, and so bed. Or under the bed, anyway.

* * * * *

So, there is an end to that particular year. Good riddance, I say. But I suppose this one will be just as irritating.

* * * * *

B said she planned to spend Sunday afternoon digging out her footpath from under the snow, and told me she has discovered a way to make such heavy work tolerable, if not exactly enjoyable. She swears a blue streak all the time she is shoveling, until she feels better. Or less worse.

Her therapeutic swearing is occasionally leavened with a little self-pitying whining, but pretty soon she is back to straightforward swearing again. Eventually the hard work is done, and she doesn’t normally feel the need to go on swearing for much longer. Maybe a half hour or so, but no more.

* * * * *

Rumor has it that there is a mystery person who is looking at investing in The Good Tern, that nutty little food co-op in the North End. Let us not forget, however, that it started out in the august South End, in a spot that I think is now given over to the production of soap.

There was also briefly a soap operation in the old Fuller Market building, of course. You know, I never could quite get used to the notion of the South End smelling of soap. Didn’t seem right. Sardines, low tide, even occasionally a whiff of diesel from the cement trains, all seemed reasonable. But somehow not soap.

Nothing against soap, personally. In fact I have used the stuff myself, several times. It’s just the location of soap operations specifically in the South End that seems a bit eccentric. Perhaps I am becoming a bit old fashioned.

* * * * *

Over the holidays one hears many stories, some of doubtful social value, but some containing a glimmer of truth about the human spirit. Fabulous Bob recently was moved to recount such a tale of Boy Scout camping at Union Fairground around July 1962.

He claims that other Scouts placed mashed bananas in his sleeping bag early enough in the day so that, when he came to get into it that night, the contents were foul in all senses of the word. He claims he had to jump in the river to remove the stuff.

However he also claims that he did not go to bed until he had also broken out of the camp after lights out and gone “illegally” roaming around Union village at night. Doing what, I have no idea.

So the way he tells it, the tale of the atrocity committed in his sleeping bag sounds like some sort of morality play, in which his haunting of Union Village was punished in the sleeping bag from hell. I wonder what he really did to merit such attention from his fellow Scouts.

* * * * *

One highlight of the year just gone was Frank’s impersonation of a Thanksgiving Day parade balloon. Quite remarkable.

* * * * *

I saw a couple of people holding placards at the corner of Park and Main, apparently proclaiming in favor of gun rights.

Silly people. Guns don’t have rights.

David Grima is a former editor for Courier Publications. He can be reached at davidgrima@ymail.com, unless one day he wakes up speaking Welsh.

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