The few minutes of waiting are filled with the usual people-watching, nods of recognition and, most welcome of all, occasional small-talk with some of the Mums of SW's friends. Yesterday, during one of these little chats, I noticed that a young lad called Freddie was carrying an enormous stick. Actually, he's no stranger to sticks. A week or so ago, he was wielding a fine specimen, weighty enough for the hands of Little John, let alone Little Freddie.
Seeing him etching lines and squiggles in the dirt, leaning on it as though it was a crutch, and hoisting it high, sometimes alarmingly and always erratically, reminded me of how important sticks are to young boys. At least, that's how it used to be. But then, when I was little more than Freddie's age, I had my own penknife. Horror of horrors, I used it to sharpen sticks, remove bark, and to whittle away to my heart's content. Suddenly, I'm thinking how much things have changed. In my day, almost every boy carried a penknife. How else would he cut the piece of string that invariably resided in the depths of the opposite trouser pocket?
|Penknife (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
My thoughts were interrupted as SW emerged from her classroom. All smiles and oblivious to the role of sticks and knives in the far-off days of Ga (that's me) she unloaded her bags to me and we headed for home. Out the corner of my eye I could just make out Freddie's older brother examining the stick, wearing a familiar expression of approval.