A Rare Insight

My parents rarely ever spoke about the past. Once, I was showing my dad an enormous rectangular basket with a lid that had I bought to use as a blanket box. His eyes lit up when he saw it.

“We had baskets just like that when I was a child,” he told me

I held my breath, not daring to interrupt him in case he stopped.

“When we went away on holidays, we packed everything into one of those baskets, and then we’d all get on the steam train, and go.”

My imagination was fired; a busy Glasgow train station, a steam train, hissing steam, men, women, and children, in old fashioned clothes. I could almost smell the smoke.

Suddenly my father’s eyes widened as another old memory surfaced.

“My grandfather, ‘Papa Rowley’ was a huge man, six feet tall and built like a Highlander. I remember one year when someone tried to pick his pocket.  He was carrying that basket on his shoulder and the pick-pocket must have seen him swaying because he had been drinking, and thought he was fair game.”

I gasped with the surprise of such an insight.

“As soon as his hand went in Papa Rowley’s pocket, Papa’s arm flew back and caught him by the hand. The pick-pocket yelped and let go of the money, it bounced all over the platform. Everyone else was running around picking up the money, and rushing up to give it back to Papa.”

He chuckled under his breath, and as quickly as the moment had come, it was gone.