Never again

Published by: Robert M on 28th Mar 2018 | View all blogs by Robert M


Mary muttered softly to herself as she dipped the wooden spoon into the saucepan that was bubbling merrily on the stove. After a quick taste she added a little more salt and then replaced the saucepan lid. She was all behind today, her nice, regular routine thrown into confusion by that blasted man.


     Fred had always been so good about the time she spent caring for her ‘down-and-outs’ as he called them. Sunday evening had been the first time that she had ever taken one of them to her home. The poor, sodden man had been in desperate need of dry clothing and Fred had a wardrobe full of clothes he never wore. Fred, unfortunately, had chosen that evening to come home early from his wretched golf club committee meeting.


     He had shouted at her and forbidden her to have anything more to do with them. He said it was one thing to give her cash to do her work, but quite another to have one of the scruffy deadbeats in his own home. He ranted on and on, asking if she thought he had spent forty years struggling up the civil service promotion ladder only to spend his hard-earned pension on wasters. Never again would he feed the ‘mangy, idle, low-life scroungers’.  


     The closure of St Hugh’s mobile soup kitchen four years before had coincided with Mary’s own retirement. She had bought a tatty, fourth-hand van, and with her driving skills testing to the limits the protection of the St Christopher hanging from the mirror, she had restarted the soup round. Her ingredients were anything and everything she could beg or scrounge from local shops, butchers and supermarkets. Her scalding hot coffee and soup and tasty, home-baked meat pies were the only sustenance some of her “clients” ever got. They relied heavily on her punctual visits and repaid her by treating her with the utmost respect. They never called her Mary, it was always a deferential, Mrs Fulbright. She in turn knew all of their names, or, as she had come to suspect, aliases, and used them

accordingly;  it no longer seemed strange to wish a good evening to “Mr Slasher” or “Jimmy the dip”.



She was never quite sure what Jimmy did but now and then he would slip a crumpled five-pound note into her hand, “to help a bit with the expenses like”.                



     The giving had not been all one-way. From them, she had learned that it was possible to smile no matter what hand life dealt you, to carry on regardless, no matter what other people said or did. And she intended to carry on.


      Mary once again picked up the wooden spoon then lifted the saucepan lid. Fred’s poached, watery eyes stared up at her through the steam. He had been so wrong when he said that he would never again feed her down-and-outs.








  • stephen D
    by stephen D 4 months ago
    That was very nice, I enjoyed it.
  • Bill W
    by Bill W 4 months ago
    Yes it was, and I enjoyed it too, thank you Bob
  • josee  a
    by josee a 4 months ago
    Great. I liked it too.
  • Maureen W
    by Maureen W 3 months ago
    Loved it, just catching up with the blogs before I lose the Site, so sad.
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