This story is inspired by the following word prompts:
Today’s things are: cobra, goose, cherry pie
I still remember it to this day. It used to scare the hell out of me as a child. A stuffed Indian Cobra, with its neck flattened, as though ready to strike, used to sit bound to its wooden stand, next to the fireplace in my Grandfathers house.
I had a strange fascination with it, but it used to give me nightmares that it suddenly came alive and started chasing me. That never happened, of course.
Grandfather used to find it very amusing, he would lift me up on his lap and tell me pithy tales of growing up in India. The snake was a memento of his childhood.
“Did you kill it, Grandpa?” I once asked him. I remember his face creasing up and he laughed a great belly laugh.
“Goodness me! No. It used to belong to my Father. He bought it in the marketplace in Bombay.”
My Grandfather always had a huge fondness for India although he’d left behind that life as a young man and came to England for work. Something else he brought with him was a love of Mango chutney. At Christmas, we always had a Goose and he used to smother his in Mango chutney.
I don’t have goose anymore, it’s not easy to come by, but after Christmas, I use up any leftover turkey by making sandwiches with mango chutney. The smell and the taste always remind me of my Grandfather, he may be absent, but he’ll always be with me.
Another memory from childhood was visiting my other living grandparent. Both my father’s mother and my mother’s father died before I was born. When I was small I used to think, ‘Why doesn’t Grandfather marry Granny then they could live in the same house and look after each other and we’d only have to visit the one place’. I never voiced that opinion, which is just as well because I can hear both my Grandfather and my Granny laughing their heads off at the thought of it.
Granny had cherry trees growing in her garden and we always used to visit her in September and she’d bake the best cherry pie I’d ever eaten. I have searched high and low ever since, but I can never find a cherry pie to match it. If only she’d written down the recipe or showed one of us how she made it, but she didn’t. The recipe is lost to the mists of time. It’s only a memory now, along with Grandfather, Granny and that horrible Cobra.
I wonder what ever happened to that horrible thing?
Kristian Fogarty 31/August/2018