Sunday, July 29, 2012

A Pushcart on the Roof

The old man rolls his pushcart on the roof.

I am aghast.  "Grandpa.  Really?  A pushcart on the roof?"

The old man ignores me..  "Banana!  Banana!  Banana!"

I wonder if that is the vestiges of an long dead and buried knock knock joke, when I realize he really is selling bananas.

"Grandpa," I explain patiently.   "There's only four of us up here.  How many bananas can we eat?"

He shrugs and goes up to Uncle Toby.  "OK.  No bananas.  Could I interest you maybe in a fedora?"

Uncle Toby, ever the proper military man, brushes him off.

"Apologies, Grandpa..  You have to forgive Uncle Toby.  He's an Englishman in a strange country." Maybe
even two strange countries, I think to myself.  "Got anything in a military dress hat?"

Grandpa folds a piece of paper into a sailor's hat, and offers it to Uncle Toby who shreds it to ribbons and scatters the remnants over the side of the roof.

"Uncle Toby," I stammer angrily..  "That is littering!  Good thing there is not a police man near by to write a

Insulted, Grandpa shambles away cart and all to another part of the roof.  The fiddler plays something mournful.  I sigh and call after Grandpa, "Please come back.  It's been many years, and I have so many questions."

"I will, Debele, when, this man apologizes," Grandpa says as he points an accusatory and gnarled finger at Uncle Toby,

I look over at Uncle Toby.  He looks recalcitrant.  I can tell this rooftop diplomacy is going to take a while.

Thankfully the fiddler is good for something other than klezmer music.  He knows military marches as well.
Given he is but one violinist, his rendition of Stars and Stripes Forever was particularly stirring.  Uncle Toby
is favorably impressed.

A short while later Grandpa is telling Uncle Toby about his millinery victories.  Uncle Toby listens with
rapt attention while occasionally consulting his maps which seem to change terrain to suit the story..  They
toast their armistice with the contents from a brandy bottle.

Grandpa snores softly.  I pull a light blanket over him to keep off the chill air.  The questions can wait until