Tuesday, 7 February 2012

My godfather is

coming today. He usually comes on the days his wife has a "bridge party". Our house is a haven of peace and quiet compared with "all those wretched women gossiping away". He is easy to entertain. If my father is in the middle of glueing something together in the shed my godfather will come inside and talk to me while the water in the kettle boils. I make sure I have kitchen things to do so he does not feel as if he is interrupting me.
If I do need to do something else he will read the paper and has been known to make the tea.
My godfather is not a blood relative but he is close enough to the clan to have been included in clan reunions. He never did a lot of godfatherly sort of things. I doubt he can remember when my birthday is and he never took me to the zoo. He has been there in other ways though. 
        "Cat, if you need me to do something you only have to ask."
I doubt I will ask he is almost as old as my father.
I had two godmothers. One of them died when I was still a child. I do not remember her. She went interstate to work when I was only a year old and I never saw her again. My surviving godmother is even older than my godfather and my father. She is 92, almost 93. She also lives interstate.
For a long time she lived in Sydney. Her husband was transferred there by his employers when I was at the end of primary school. After that I only saw her when she came to Adelaide to see her mother. We never went to visit her.
My godmother has two adopted children. Her son has children and grand-children. He has recently moved his parents to be much closer to him so that he can care for them now that they can no longer care for themselves. He lives in a remote area of New South Wales only accessible by car. I know I am not likely to see my godmother again. She will make no more trips here and, short of hiring a very long-distance taxi, I am not going to see her.
We write letters occasionally. She is not computer-literate. She has read voraciously all her life but her letters are full of spelling errors. Her writing is getting harder to read. Her letters to me are full of things I know little about, a family I do not know. She always remembers my birthday and I remember hers.
I know it will not be too many more years until neither of my surviving godparents are here with me. I will miss them both.

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