Special Ordinary Things

15 08 2014

Something from today will stick in my mind. It’s a little story of a family, of mum, dad, son, daughter and grandad. In First Fruits Tea Room in Tarbert, on the Isle of Harris, they sat together on the big circular table close to the counter. I didn’t hear what the adults ordered for their lunches, but I did hear dad asking his small boy and girl if they would like this or that. Both children chose scrambled egg on toast. When their meals were served dad asked the boy if he would mind swopping his brown toast for his sister’s white toast. Not a problem. Not a whinge, or a why, or a strop. Dad then asked the boy if he would like the toast cut up. Just one cut was all the boy wanted, he wanted to do the rest himself he said to dad. Then out came the tomato ketchup in a squeezy bottle. Before the children started their meals, dad carefully wrote each child’s name in small letters, in ketchup, on their plates. Dad took such care over the tiny names. The girl’s name was Esther, I didn’t hear the boy’s. The children leaned over to watch. They clearly loved what dad was doing, and adored dad. The children then ate their meals enjoying every mouthful. I couldn’t help but watch the children’s faces, dad’s hands as he gently squeezed the ketchup, and those precious moments they all spent together. Not a bent head over a mobile phone, no head set, electronic game, or stroking of a smart-phone. Just being together, happy, was what counted. Real, ordinary, life. Those children will remember their time on the Isle of Harris, as the time their dad wrote their names in tomato ketchup in their scrambled egg, in a tearoom called First Fruits.





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