Thirsty Work

I saw Nana hit a man once outside a pub and he never got back up.  He didn’t see it coming because you don’t expect a grandmother who is only five feet tall to punch you on the chin so hard you fall over.  She distracted him by swinging her left arm around so he would think she was going to hit him with her left fist but then she caught him on the chin with her right. No one argued with Nana.

She was from the Highlands of Scotland, so she made me wear a kilt for my fifth birthday. But anyone could see it wasn’t a kilt. It was a girl’s tartan skirt. Nana said there wasn’t much demand for kilts in Portsmouth.

Then we danced the Highland Fling in the kitchen, holding hands. We hopped from foot to foot across the swords laid on the floor. They weren’t real swords, of course, because they could cut your foot off. So we used the broom and the mop.

And my twin sister cried when Dad said I could go for a ride in a police car for my birthday. She cried because Dad said it was dangerous work and only for men. I cried too when I found out it wasn’t a police car. It was a milk float. That’s why I had to get up so early in the morning the next day. I had to help Dad deliver the milk but we pretended we were in a police car.

We were chasing the baddies but they got away because we kept having to stop to deliver the milk. And then Dad was thirsty and I said he should have a pint of milk but he said he needed pints of a different kind and left me to guard the milk float while he went into the Sailors Home Club.

He must have been very thirsty because he was gone for most of the afternoon.


  1. Sad story well written

  2. Another powerful one! Love the child’s point of view. Love the heartbreaking ending. Can relate. My dad was an alcoholic, too. And his Dad before him. And my brother. Lots of waiting…

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