Sunday, 4 December 2016

Suit, Waistcoat, Tie

Dear Reader,
                                                                                     Mr Joe Bartley, 89

Perhaps you all saw the wonderful story this week about Mr Joe Bartley, but for those who did not, here it is.  Joe Bartley, 89, an army veteran from Paignton in Devon, posted a job advertisement in the local newspaper, The Herald Express.  He had lived alone since his wife died and was lonely and said that he was "dying of boredom".  He wanted to work for 20 hours a week and could do cleaning, light gardening, and DIY.  He had several offers of work made to him but chose a cafe in the town after the owners of the family-run business spotted his request.  He is looking forward to starting work there this week.  Well done, Mr Bartley, I salute you!

My mother worked in an antiques shop just off Sloane Street in London until she was 82.  She walked there from her flat, a distance of a mile or two, started at 9.30 and worked until 5 pm, when she walked home.  For this she earned £12 a day, not in 1900 but in 1994!  I don't think she knew much about antiques nor did she really need the money, luckily, but she loved the responsibility and importance of working.  After she stopped working she became ill, I suspect from boredom like Mr Bartley, and never recovered her high spirits.
                                                                            


                                                                                *                                                                         

Suit, Waistcoat, Tie

Why wear his best suit, waistcoat, tie
at a talk on Nuclear Waste?
The village hall crumbles,
lit by dusty neon lights,
tea is served from cracked cups
and dull biscuits offered.

The rest wear jumble-sale clothes,
too dispirited to care,
their appearance long abandoned.

But is there someone there
who has stirred his heart,
made him feel alive again?
The reason for his best suit,
his waistcoat and his tie,
his winning smile, his bright eye?

I like to think so,
hope so.

                                                                            *

Very best wishes, Patricia

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your poem today conjours a whole world that again we find familiar, while not quite being acquainted with the people in it. There is a story here, but it is up to the reader to decide exactly how it will take shape.
I love the story of Joe Bartley, and your mother's story even more - what an extraordinary woman she must have been! Xx