George carved some generous slices for everyone and made sure his son got some crackling that he loved. The conversation was flowing as they all sat eating their food.
Agnes asked about Sarah and how she was coping on her own these days.
Sarah told her that she got lonely and that days sometimes weeks would pass without seeing a soul.
I will make an effort to come over and see yer Sarah and I will cook you something hot to eat as well. Yer need feeding up; look at you; yer like a bag of bones.” Sarah had tears in her eyes as she told Agnes how since the death of her husband and two sons she felt totally alone.
Her bony fingers cut into the pork on her plate and when she had finished there were all these tiny pieces of meat. Agnes had forgotten that she had false teeth and was unable to chew properly. The teeth she was wearing had come from Staggie’ the rag and bone man. He collected the dentures from deceased or from people who had got other dentures after their gums had shrunk with age.’
Agnes wondered how many people had tried the teeth on for size in Staggie’s shop.’
She put the thought out of her head then carried on eating her meal.’
When they were all finished Agnes served up some apple pie and custard.
“We are getting spoiled this day said Eddie as he tucked into his food.’
“It is lovely to have someone to talk to said Sarah as Tom filled up another kettle for more tea.’
Tom realised then how a simple meal could bring people together; his parent’s unselfish act had brought so much to one old lady and his mother’s cousin.
It was now seven fifteen so Tom cleaned his teeth and went to his room to put on a shirt he put on a jacket as well as it was getting colder outside of a night time now.’
He said goodbye to everyone and made his way over to his friend Mickey’s house.’
Looking down the street he saw Colin still working on the last two houses on his side.
It would be well after nine o’clock before he was finished.
Mickey came to the door wearing a new shirt.
“When did you get that?’
My Ma’ bought it for me.’
“I got a job today as well.’
“It’s up the Grainger Market on one of the fruit and veg stalls; you wouldn’t believe the amount of women that come through.’
“Is that all you can think about Mickey.’
“Is there anything else?’
They walked along Saville Street past the Ballarat, the Sir Colin Campbell, and the Garrick’s head before crossing the road to Uncle Toms Cabin.
They made their way to the bar and ordered two pints of Younger’s Tartan special. It came in a can and was a nice reddish coloured beer. It wasn’t as strong as Double Brown ale which was a very strong beer.’
The cans were just short of a pint and cost two bob each. The cans were poured into a heavy crinkled glasses and was favoured be many of the teenagers who frequented the bar. They walked through into the back and into the snug where women were allowed to drink and there was music playing.
Some older couples were dancing as they made their way to a table and sat down.
Looking around there was a game of dominoes being played by a few pensioners and the local darts team had a game going on.