Saturday, 11 July 2009

Oxford odyssey

A not very good short story wot I wrote....

Margaret, I’ve enjoyed this little weekend coach holiday in Oxford, and if you weren’t now fast asleep next to me, I’d love to ask you what you thought. I think you enjoyed that farce at the Playhouse too much last night, you could hardly stay awake at Mass this morning. I wont wake you, we’ll probably be stopping at the Stafford services, you get a good kip in before then. Well, I’m glad you invited me, I haven’t been away since Frank passed on and this made a lovely change.

Oxford meant such different things to you and me. Though we were in the same class at school, you went to the right parish and the nuns at school were full of aspirations for you, filling you with thoughts of becoming a professional, a doctor or lawyer. I was at the “shawlee” parish, which to them meant Irish and ignorant, I had to work so hard to get into teacher training college with little or no encouragement. The irony is you found Thomas, married at 18 and had those wonderful boys of yours, including your Andrew who got into Oxford who you have been so proud of. So you rightfully have a claim on Oxford, it has memories for you. Me, teacher training in Liverpool and a lifetime teaching in the mill towns of Lancashire, marrying my Frank when I was close to retirement, having a few precious years with him and then….No, Oxford was for someone else, not me, nor any of the children that passed through my hands. Actually it brings out the old Labour socialist in me, but I won’t tell you that!

If those nuns are rustling their habits on some cloud up there, I wonder what they think of us, are they proud?. I can’t help remembering they ignored me in class because our Mam washed coal for a living, or that it how it felt to me as a schoolgirl.

Margaret, I really want to wake you up and talk about that Mass with you. I wonder what you made of it? When was the last time you saw three priests with birettas? Gosh what a sight, what reverence. Oh, and those altar boys….oh everything was just so right and so prayerful. I was nearly in tears, I was. I felt exhausted by the depth of prayer and closeness to God. I wonder what you felt?

The problem is it has got me thinking. I mean, I’m dreading my turn on the rota as Eucharistic Minister. I don’t want to do it anymore and I don’t know why. Father won’t be pleased, I’d be letting him down. But I can’t do it if it doesn’t feel right, can I?

Oh yes, and despite these knees, I’m going to genuflect properly once again, and get rid of that pathetic curtsey of mine, I can do better for Our Lord……

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