August 23, 2015 by Dadinator
In my mothers courtyard stands an old snail. It’s not a real snail, it’s a kind or metal rocking-horse snail. It’s sheet metal beaten into a snail shape over a solid iron frame. Springs allow it to rock back on forth, more of a tilt than a rock really.
I remember it.
I remember sitting on it and riding it when I was smaller. Much much smaller. I remember the paint that covered it, although it’s cracked and faded these days. I remember the saddle. The vinyl has disintegrated. I remember the creak-come-groan it would make as I wobbled back and forth on it and springs strained under load and motion.
I don’t remember much of the man who made it. I say made, I think he found it and fixed it rather than made it. He was that kind of man. Hated to throw things out and always tinkering and repairing things.
He painted. I remember a huge canvas that stood in the hall of the house. It was in Brunswick. I remember the garden, dappled green from a canopy of grape leaves grown on a trellis over the yard. The shed full of mysteries. The toys there for the sake of the little people like me.
I remember a day in kinder. It was a normal day, with games and painting and stories. It was during the story. I can’t remember what the story was, but that isn’t important.
I remember seeing mum. It was early. She seemed tense and uneasy, but I didn’t know those words. I just though she was moving faster than usual.
She came to get me “Seamus, Pappous has died”….
“Oh. Can I stay and finish the story?” Said my 4 year old self.
I remember that moment quite clearly; more clearly than I can recall the an himself. He went too early. For me and for his own kids. He was 57, and it was sudden. A man who had become a grandfather only 5 years ago was gone.
I know he was a man of his time and culture. Old fashioned. Closed off. Hard working, and hard in other ways at times, as life was hard on him. He brought his family over great seas, from Cyprus to Australia, worked his fingers to the bone.
What would he have thought of me growing up? A Philhellene. A drama nerd. A terrible sportsman. A teacher. Now a father himself. Different man of a different time and place. Yet, they say I look like him. Photos show it too.
Would we have gotten along? Would we talk? Would would would….
All leading to the main would….
Would he be proud?
30 years ago, to the day.
Σ’αγαπω, παππού μου. (I love you my Pappous)
And thanks for the snail. My kids love it too.