Grandpa

by Elaine Edwards

When Grandpa came, at break, to school,
smirking children shouted in the playground.
“Lainy,” they said. “Lainy,
your grandfather is here with your SANDWICHES.”

I’d run to Grandpa, so dignified, well-dressed,
in suit and tie, silver head of hair gleaming,
his walking stick a statement, not necessity,
and snatch the packet from his hand, and run away,
his call of “Lainy, Lainy” ringing in my ears.

I see him still, a tall, fit, proud old man,
retired bank manager,
who’d once had clients queuing at his door,
standing alone in the playground.

If I could stop, rewind my life for just one day,
this is what I’d do:
“Grandpa,” I’d say, “thank you for the sandwiches.”
I’d take his hand, show him my classroom,
my friends, my teacher, who’d all be charmed
by his courtesy and grace.
And in the evening, I’d play with his silver-backed hairbrushes,
and listen to his memory
of riding his horse across the Free State plains,
while fending off outlaws
trying to steal the cash
that he was carrying
from Bloemfontein to Clocolan.

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