Tuesday, March 22, 2005

An Easter Message from Sticko

I got this lovely easter message today from my old pal and guest contributor Sticko.

Easter has arrived again and, far from being all pious and egg-cited, I'm just hoping to come through unscathed. The annual egg-fest was never the same for me after Rosie bit into my cheek when I was a wide-eyed four-year-old, drawing blood and sending me screaming into my mother's apron. Rosie was a fluffy white rabbit, given to me by Grandma Bourke in the vain hope it would make me sit still long enough for her to tell me the REAL story of Easter.

Grandma was a pious woman with a passionate belief in the Good Book. She has a penchant for delivering sermons in a voice hushed with holiness, reminding us that we were put here for a reason - and we must never, ever reject God's plan for us.

Her zeal for spreading the word made me believe God's task for Grandma involved her personally saving at least 3000 heathens from the smouldering maw of Hell and, at the age of 78, she was acutely aware she was still well short of her target. Surely that was the only reason she'd bother spending an hour or more every weekend chiding our shapely baby-sitter, Miss Beryl, for reading trashy Barbara Cartland novels and not wearing gloves on Sundays as she filed into St Stephens at Newtown.

I discovered a bit later, after Miss Beryl met our paperboy Jimmy, that our buxom baby-sitter was never even the remotest chance of becoming one of those blessed 3000.

But back to Rosie. Far from being a compliant, child-loving bundle of soft fur, Rosie turned out to be a neurotic beast whose beady red eyes used to gleam with malice whenever a child wandered within striking distance. Any effort to pat her or, Heaven forbid, to pick her up for a cuddle, was greeted with the same kind of welcome a mailman gets from a mastiff. Rosie mysteriously disappeared from her hutch shortly after the biting incident and, I must confess, my grieving period was almost indecently brief.

A few years later, the Easter spirit took another pasting at our place. Grandma Bourke was feeding me chunks of chocolate Easter egg, sandwiched between parables from God's Word and admonishments for squishing wads of Juicy Fruit into my sister's long, golden hair. All the while, grandma held the partly-dispensed Easter egg in her uplifted left hand, out of my reach and my line of sight. I guess she sensed I'd make a lunge for it before Nicodemus had finished helping Joseph of Arimathea to bury the crucified Son of God if she didn't keep that egg at arm's length. That's probably why I didn't notice the skerrick of metallic foil stuck to the wedge of chocolate grandma thrust at her captive potential convert.

My first realisation of this oversight was a searing, scarlet-coloured pain which circumnavigated my skull when that tiny piece of silver wrapper touched a filling. I thought grandma had stabbed me in the chops with a chocolate-covered knitting needle; grandma thought I was possessed and started furiously with her grey head tilted back and her eyes half-closed. That scared me even more than the pain in my tooth so I again took off for the safety of mum's apron.

Trouble was, mum was in the middle of making a batch of hot-crossed buns and those clumps of spotty dough went flying. Mum began yelling and that interrupted my father's sacred hour of The Goon Show on the wireless. When he came to investigate, my old man's face was the colour of tomato sauce. So, grandma was wailing for God's forgiveness, mum was glaring at me, dad was ready to wring my neck and my tooth felt like a lava flow.

I was grounded, there were no hot-crossed buns, and Miss Beryl and Jimmy were the only one who got to go to the Royal Easter Show that year. It was their first date and they became "an item". Grandma offered frosty congratulations but, deep inside, was scandalised by Beryl's betrayal.

Nevertheless, the old dear bought them a gift: a fluffy little white rabbit- which she named Rosie.

Note from Gibbo: This contribution reminded me of a character that needs to be explored further during some of my "roadie stories". The one and only Jimmy, cousin of Sticko, our gracious author. I'm not sure that he is the same one mentioned in the story above but... in all the years I spent roadying, I only ever met a couple of characters like Jimmy. How many people do you know that can drink a bottle of bourbon... during the load in and then another one during the show! I'll put my mind to it and tell a Jimmy story or two real soon.

1 comment:

Splat Guy said...

Hmm, my face suffered a similar indignity at the hands (well, beak) of a satanic cockatoo. I don't think I was being taught about Jesus or the Resurrection at the time, though, so maybe the bird was just a run-of-the-mill heathen.