Bohemia Village Voice  Bohemia Village Voice

For bohemians everywhere

Margaret Punter

Cousin George

It’s raining! George said it would rain once he was on the plane. Clever clogs! George is my cousin – an American.
I met him, the first time, twenty-odd years ago. He was a sergeant in the ‘Undefeated United States Army’. He was so good looking in that uniform; happy, confident, centre of attention, super-fit. He was in his early twenties and we, my sisters and I, were in our early teens. So he was just what the doctor ordered to cheer up the long school hols. He turned his whole stay into a whirlwind of laughter and ‘English tea’. He teased us all mercilessly. Our sides ached . . . and our legs.
George ran every morning and we were all woken in good time to join him. I can still hear that stupid song he insisted on singing. What a spectacle we must have made as we jogged, in time, around the streets and through the park. I went twice, but that was enough. Then his stay was over. He left for Germany, promising to keep in touch, but over the years . . .
Suddenly one Sunday afternoon, there was a call ‘Good Afternoon Mam! Is that Margaret? Well hello again, this is Cousin George!’ And he burst into our lives again a week later.
More English Tea, lunches, visits to museums, running on the beach, card games, quizzes and barbecues. He told us all about his family and we introduced him to ours. The kids fell in love with him and in step behind him as he jogged along to that same old tune ‘1, 2, 3, 4 . . . 1, 2, 3, 4!!’
He was still good-looking, maybe a few pounds heavier, laughing and joking. He kept reminding us he had brought the good weather with him and with a big smile he’d add ‘You are welcome!’ And he certainly had – it was a glorious fortnight. Another American whirlwind experience and then he was gone. I sat in the kitchen with a second cuppa watching the rain.
George had left a printed card with all his contact details on it. I wonder if I could manage that e-mail business that George talked about.
He said it was so easy to keep in touch . . .

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