Uncle Willie (For April 30th)

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Uncle Willie (For April 30th)

Post by DavidK on Fri Apr 27, 2018 2:01 pm

Uncle Willie

Willie had married above his station. He prided himself on the fact that Mae had failed to sand down his rough edges, despite her best efforts. After all, she had promised to love, honour and obey him as he was, warts and all.

They had met at a Film Studies course run by the local Polytechnic, now masquerading as a University. Willie had seen the posh bird as a challenge. Mae had seen the latent gentleness concealed beneath the granite exterior. She had tried with limited success to introduce him to the lyricism of European art house cinema. He had similarly attempted to show her the controlled power and sardonic wit of spaghetti Westerns. He remained as bemused by Lars von Trier as she was by Sergio Leone. Neither project had borne much fruit. However, on this apparently barren ground, love had blossomed.

After marriage they settled in Edinburgh. Initially, he was a fish out of water in Barnton. Yet, he was blessed with an inverse chameleon like quality. Willie remained constant while his surroundings changed to blend in with him.

Having spent much of his formative years imprisoned in an overcrowded flat on the eighth floor of a high rise Maryhill tenement block, he luxuriated in the freedom to open his front door and step into the open air. To begin with, the neighbours looked askance at this bear of a man with the unkempt beard, sitting on his front step at seven in the morning, mug of black tea in hand, festooned in the replica Partick Thistle shirt in which he had spent the night.

After he had used his plumbing skills to unblock a couple of drains, and change washers on a few taps, the neighbouring bankers and estate agents warmed to him. He had made the leap from “subversive” to “eccentric”.

During a long weekend together in London, Mae had treated them to box seats at the Emirates Stadium for an Arsenal league match. Willie was appalled at the sight of overpaid fancy Dan footballers rolling around the turf, feigning injury, in an attempt to get their fellow professionals sent off. He missed his weekly pilgrimage to Firrhill to worship at the shrine of his beloved “Jags”. Only the nether regions of Scottish Football provided truly satisfying quantities of blood and snot.

Willie and Mae had failed to produce any offspring. With the onset of middle age they had given up the burden of trying. Though he never said as much, he looked forward with keen anticipation to the weekly visits of his young nephews, Jack and Davie. Mae’s sister Miriam and her husband Paul were happy to take a break from the kids every Sunday morning. For their part, the boys relished the tea and cakes, and appeared fascinated by the tales spun by their mismatched aunt and uncle.

Willie had bristled when the boys called him “Uncle William”.

“All my pals call me Willie”, he boomed. “All my enemies, startin’ wi’ my faither, call me William. Which dae you want tae be – pals or enemies?”

“Pals”, the boys chorused, and never repeated the mistake.

DavidK

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