The Old Man in the garden says, “I made mistakes. What’s done can’t be undone. I’ll try again someday, but just now I’m tired and bored with them. Should I just squash the clay and start again?”
The New Man says, “It’s the Woman’s fault. She talks too much and doesn’t stop to think enough. Why can’t she just get the idea that I’m hungry and get me something to eat?”
The New Woman says, “That Man! Never talks to me unless he’s demanding something to eat, or making me make all the decisions. So—I make them and then they turn out wrong and he blames me! So, I got it wrong. Am I supposed to be wise already?”
The New Child says, “Why have I got a Dad who doesn’t talk and a Mum who talks too much? How am I going to grow up knowing anything? They’re going to die someday and leave me all alone, so what about me? Who am I going to play with? How am I going to learn? Where am I going to find a girl to marry? Hey you—Old Man—it’s your fault, isn’t it? You made my Mum and Dad, so it’s got to be your fault! What are you going to do about it?”
So, the Old Man took the Child by the hand and they walked through the garden, the Old Man bending over the Child, heads together, pointing out bright new things to each other. They looked at all the flowers and fruit and tasted some of them. They danced together under the trees and out by the edge of the river and the Child fell in, but the Old Man fished him out again. They danced some more until they were both dry and breathless. Above all, they laughed and joked and laughed again like nothing you’ve ever heard on earth.
That is why Mums and Dads can safely be left to argue and bicker and run the world in whatever way they want to, while the Grandparents can safely be left to teach the Grandchildren that looking and laughing and dancing, pulling each other out of minor scrapes and having fun are the really important things in life.
Elinor Kapp, 09.05.20.
*For anyone who doesn’t know, the title is Cockney rhyming slang for ‘you’ll never believe this’.