Granny was known for not just tolerating, but favoring foods which a normal person might find insufferable. One glance at Granny’s shopping bag after a trip round the local market was enough to turn the stomach of a Glasgow sewage plant worker. It would contain several items, all of which were locked into fierce competition for this years “most disgusting substance award.” There would be a misshapen lump of some sort of white rubbery gristly that Granny would call meat. Perhaps some type of decaying marine creature that the local fishmonger was about to throw away and a varied assortment of putrid vegetation and rotten fruit that could only be used to make soup for the residents of a third world prison camp. All obtained for less than the price of a bag of gobstoppers.
“Never again!” I remember him shouting the day he returned from the woods, limping, soaking wet, with the burns on his legs visible through the singed holes in his trousers and angry red welts on his face arms and neck. As he sat down and consumed more tea and cigarettes than I had ever seen him do before, the disastrous story began to unfold. Apparently Dad had been swinging an axe to remove a particularly stubborn tree and in so doing dislodged a hornet’s nest. The hornets had viewed the destruction of their place of residence in a very unfavorable manner and attacked him with a determination and resolve seldom seen in woodland creatures. Luckily Dad had been able to seek refuge by jumping into the pungent choking smoke of the fire where he had been burning some brushwood. After proving his superiority over the winged aggressors by tolerating the flames and smoke longer than they could, he sprinted a short distance to a nearby lake and jumped in to extinguish his burning clothes. Despite his well planned strategy he received multiple hornet stings. He had also twisted his ankle as he exited the lake.
Billy spent most of his time wandering round the village talking to anyone who would listen. He would then try to pursued them that all rich people were inherently evil, and that one day the working class would rise up to take their rightful place as rulers of the country. During this process everyone would get a bigger house and a newer car, and horrible things would be done to the queen. People called Billy a Commie, but Billy called himself a Worker. Everyone thought this self-imposed title was a little odd since nobody could ever remember Billy having a Job.
Mr. Rolonzio would never be present at Church. In his life, Catholicism took a back seat to football.
Each Sunday the best football game of the week was televised, and although it did not start until much later in the day, the head of the
Rolonzio household was going to take no chance that may lead to him missing a minute of this important event. He said that he felt God would understand, but I thought he was a little fanatical in this regard. My brother once heard him say that he thought Jesus must support Leeds United, since his robes were all white and the same color as the Leeds players uniforms, but this supposedly powerful following did not explain the team’s gradual slide down the first division following a recent string of defeats.