Thought for today:
"Today is the twin birthdays of my son, William, who lives in Australia with his wife Eve and my brother Peter who is now 65 and lives in Dewsbury, West, Yorkshire with his wife Linda. William and Peter have more in common than most nephews and uncles would ever guess. Anyone wishing to be kind to them might see them as being oddballs who are prone to do stupid things without forethought and then plead innocence in intention when the shit hits the fan! To me they are simply born rebels who refuse to conform to almost any set of rules or guidelines that genteel society follows.
I can never recall a time when my younger brother Peter wasn't big in size for his age, and yet, despite his size, he was never aggressive and was overall seen as being 'a gentle giant'. Indeed, apart from putting dead wasps inside his brother Patrick's sandwich once and laughing loudly as Patrick ate them, he rarely did wrong to man or beast. At the age of eleven, a bossy bus conductor demanded that Peter get off the bus at Hare Park Lane instead of the next stop, because his bus pass took him no farther without additional payment, which he didn't have. Under normal circumstances Peter might have complied, but due to the conductor's officious manner and offensive tone of voice, Peter decided otherwise. When he didn't alight the double decker bus at the proper stop, the pint-sized conductor who stood no more in height than giant-sized Peter yelled, 'Get off, boy! Get off now!' Our Peter simply placed his arms around the conductor's waist, hoisted him up and after putting him down on the pavement, he smiled and rang the bell; leaving the bus conductor high and dry! I remember all the school kids on the bus cheering and no doubt wishing they'd had the nerve to do the same to some bossy adult in their lives!
In a time before mobile phones had become the extra ear of every child, our family home had telephone extensions in every room. I remember an occasion when I had grounded my then thirteen-year-old son William for some misdemeanour he'd committed, only to discover that he had exacted his own revenge. He removed his parents' bedroom phone, and by use of his own extension was calling his friends for hours nightly from the secrecy of his bedroom. When I saw the next quarterly phone bill I exploded. I seized the phone from his room and put it where he'd never find it, after totally immobilising the socket in the wall. It was about two months later when I noticed a loose wire floating around above his bedroom window. This was the point where BT had connected the wire from the telegraph pole across the road to our house. Unknown to me, William, who was a whizz kid with all manner of electronics and computers, had secured himself another phone and had illegally wired himself up to our next door neighbour's phone line. Our next-door neighbour, the Stuarts, were now secretly sharing a party line with William which they never once suspected and were also unknowingly being charged a hefty amount for his phone calls that the Stuart children were being severely chastised for, despite their firm protests of innocence!
The final straw, however, was when a policeman knocked on our door one day when I was the only one at home and the children were at school. He said that he'd been walking up the road and had seen something strange in one of the bedroom windows. It turned out that it was William's bedroom he referred to. William had told me and his mother months earlier that now he had reached his teens he required his own privacy. He requested that in future me and his mother refrain from entering his bedroom ever without first knocking and awaiting permission to enter. Out of respect for our adolescent son, and in recognition of the need of testosterone fuelled teenagers to find occasional relief, we foolishly agreed. Upon entering William's bedroom, accompanied by the policeman, we discovered he'd even fastened a bolt on the inside of his door in case we broke our word and tried to effect forced entry when he was there. We then discovered that with the aid of his creative talents, a green-leafed plant I'd last seen in Jamaica and some silver-card backing that reflected light to spur on growth, he'd been growing his own cannabis factory in his window sill for many months. The policeman told me that being an established Probation Officer married to a professional therapist at the time was no excuse for parental neglect and lack of prudent oversight of one's offspring. When he arrived home from school that day, our Wiliam was duly cautioned and the smiling bobby left.
It's strange how one's own brother and son can be so like each other in some things, isn't it? Then, I started thinking about all the Forde family; my deceased grandparents, mother and father, aunts and uncles, my brothers and sisters, my own children, their children and no doubt all their children yet to come. I was obliged to conclude that we are all eccentric! We are all of independent mind, all control freaks and have always been rebels to one cause or another all our lives! Come to think of it, we are all crazy to some extent!
Happy birthday to my son William and brother Peter. I love you both dearly, but don't you think it's now time to settle down to a more normal lifestyle and stop the commission of Forde Follies?" August 11th, 2015.