Past memories swim in my head and one in particular has become a focus; a trip 15 years ago when we traveled from Australia across America and eventually to England.
Jen was just a toddler and entertaining her was a high priority. The task was in part, sub-contracted to a hand made puppet known as Sock Chook.
Sock Chook traveled with us everywhere, always on duty and ever visible. This plan to keep Jen amused worked well, rather too well. After a while, I feared that we no longer existed in our daughter’s eyes, other than as facilitators of the goggled eyed fowl. Everything we did on that trip was interpreted through that rather tatty and increasingly stained sock.
Having traveled across the globe we eventually found ourselves on a train to Poole UK. When into the seats behind us arrived four skinheads who were noisily enjoying themselves. More specifically they were enjoying the ripple of anxiety produced by their presence. The other passengers appeared to immediately fix their gaze on things … anything … outside the carriage windows. Tired and a little concerned, I slid low in the seat and kept Jen out of sight. All the while quietly entertaining her with the now odorous Sock Chook affixed on my hand.
The journey continued with those behind maintaining center stage and everyone else avoiding eye contact. When quite unexpectedly, Jen grabbed my elbow and raised Sock Chook up and over the back of the high seat; her periscope into the chaos behind
… and then
… all fell quiet.
Perhaps those young men didn’t like being fixed in the piercing stare of the pongy sock puppet, or maybe they felt threatened by the deranged lady attached to it. Whatever it was, the mood just changed. Sock Chook turned out to be a big buzz kill.
We eventually got to Poole, where I peeled the wretched chook from my hand and threw it in with the wash. I had the greatest of pleasure watching the now cleaned puppet flail around and around in the dryer. Mesmerising…