The Majestic Bee Matador – Memory Book 1

The post I read at Britmums Live 2012….

So I am kicking off my Memory Book, a series of posts, which along with my little legacies, I want to turn into a family history (and find a way to self publish for my kids). Are you joining me? Why not start by describing a grandparent?

This little legacy is entwined, a quick tomato sauce recipe, from The Bridge Street Vegetarian Cook Book, the cook book my mum wrote for me when I left home, and some of my creative writing about my paternal Grandfather, who was a keen gardener and prolific tomato grower.

My grandfather’s hands are so tough from years of gardening that he can cup a bumble bee in them and not get stung. My cousin and I run around the lawn like hyenas shrieking as he chases us with hands clamped tight like a shell. They could pop open at any moment to release an explosive little grenade furious at being held captive.

Grandad’s jerky moves, an early indicator of the Parkinson’s that will later take hold, subside and we gain the confidence to creep closer. Grandad is not a man of many words, his actions speak for him, and we have learnt to read his eyes like a book. They open wide like fog lights and glint mischievously. We understand we are safe, having teased us and got our attention he now draws us in like a magnet.

We lean in towards his hands, tough like leather with deep, dirt-engrained creases. The buzzing is furious and frantic. Inside its prison, the bee bounces off the walls of its padded cell in protest. We can feel its anger, an almighty hum, the furious vibrations orchestrating to a crescendo. And still granddad remains unperturbed, only his eyes laugh in their sockets betraying both laddish excitement and grandfatherly pride at his antics.

Slowly, holding our childish excitement in his palms, and locking our gaze in his, he moves his hands up and away, and at a safe distance he releases the tortured beast. Like a balloon he had forgotten to knot, the disorientated bundle charges manically around looping the loop, rising, falling, and charging at anything in sight. Then, like a majestic matador, my granddad teases it close once more, before sending it flying far away.  It becomes just an angry speck of dust in the sky beyond the garden. We watch the speck disappear, little heads raised to the sky, chins dropping simultaneously to bring our dinner plate eyes down in awe on our amazing grandfather. He winks, shrugs shyly and shuffles off to the veg patch.

Little legacy is a remembrance project , a positive and creative space, to celebrate small things handed down by inspiring people. Feel free to link up a little legacy you’ve been thinking about this week, or to leave one in the comments. Here’s the code and here’s more on Little Legacy.  Memory Book is my plan to make a family book of memories, join up and see where it takes you?




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