Thursday, 11 March 2010

Funereal weeds

Today I went to an old and sadly, long lost, friend's funeral. Maureen aka Poddy. Not yet 60 and while certainly not in the bloom of youth, still far too soon to stop playing this crazy game of life. There were still lots of moves to make and dice to throw.
She was one of life's eccentrics..right from day one probably. I must have been around eleven or so when I first met her, maybe slightly older...she sat me on a pony..pointed me towards the horizon and let it gallop off into the distance bridle jangling. The little devil finally slowed down for a moment when it came upon a barbed wire fence...then it cannily dropped a shoulder as it continued at full pelt to run parallel with the wire...I didn't make the turn.... I flew straight ahead and with no grace, to land in a pile on the hard, hard earth. I still recall the feel of the steel stirrups banging relentlessly against my bare and bony ankles. And as I recall just next to the place where the bone is most prominent there was also sticking a huge, bloated horse fly.
I remember her laughing like a drain at my sprawled discomfort and being told to catch the wretched pony and get back on again..what did I think I was doing down there anyway. Quick before he hurt himself on the trailing reins!! Nothing like learning the hard way.
Her life seems to have been centered around her love of animals both great and small and her mother, who died last year after ten years of ill health. She and Maureen shared the same home for 50 or more years in Shillinglee. Daughter became mother and carer. It must have been very hard for her when her mum finally died and left her, for the first time really, on her own.
Maureen pretty much only did things her way. But then why not! If it worked for her. For all of her wry humour and whimsical ways she never put on a front..there was never any side to her..what you saw was what you got
The other pea in the pod, Christine, bravely read her memories and recollections and as if the reality had only just sunk in that she would never see her lifelong friend again a hint of panic as she turned to talk to her friend inside the coffin. Maureen was far too much of a free spirit to be cooped up inside a box. No, she was not in there...she was off riding Gelert and romping with her lurchers. At one with herself and no longer tied into that painful hand she had been dealt.