Family Stories, Ernie Cole and Honey in Brown Paper

Bedtime now, but we have had a family day.

There were some moments, actually quite a few of them, as we sat around a table groaning with sandwiches and cake, when I wished I was recording the conversation to use in a play. It wasn’t only the stories, and as usual there were quite a few of them, some old and oft repeated, some new, but also the way one or two of the party demonstrated unconscious, unintentional comic abilities to throw the whole conversation into a different, somewhat surreal gear.

Ernie Cole’s name was evoked, as it usually is on these occasions. He was an unusual man, and had a penchant for my mother. While she was training as a nurse in Birmingham, he sent her a number of presents. These were not welcomed by my mother, and caused her some embarrassment. Especially the honeycomb that leaked stickily through the brown paper in which it was wrapped while it sat in her pigeon hole.

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