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‘My Jinx’

A story by Beryl Bowden

More than most, I have found that I must anticipate and prepare for the unexpected. “Things” seem to happen when I’m around. My life seems to be made up of a series of minor disasters; mostly humorous, sometimes embarrassing, but never tragic. I am convinced that when I was born, instead of the guardian angel I had a right to expect, I was lumbered with my own personal Jinx. Most families have their own folklore and ours is liberally sprinkled with ‘Aunty Beryl-isms’. If any of the junior members forgets something, breaks something or falls over nothing; they are ‘ just like Aunty Beryl!’

When I was a child, attempts were made from time to time to polish me by cultural means. My aptitude for Highland dancing was a welcome surprise. Mum was proud when I was featured in a concert, staged to show the pupils’ prowess. Not so pleasing, to her and the other Mums, was the fact that the dancing teacher absconded with the takings from the concert and was never seen again.

Piano and singing lessons came to an abrupt halt. The piano teacher got married and the singing teacher had a nervous break- down!

The fact that I have survived so far without a broken bone is due to my highly developed reflexes. Honed to perfection by constant use, they and some pretty fancy footwork, have kept me upright when a prone position was strongly indicated.

I learned lots of tricks to guard against certain happenings. I always carry a spare pair of pantyhose. I can with supreme confidence wear an old pair into a blackberry patch without damage, but for me to take the wrapper off a new pair and put them on is a secret signal for inanimate objects with rough surfaces to head in my direction.

My memory was suspect too. (Hardly worth mentioning, was the slight lapse of the week before, when the sight of the empty garage sent me scurrying back down the street to retrieve the stupid car!)

Things on the disaster front were quiet when, one day, Lloyd and I went to Newcastle to shop for my American trip. That the quietness was only temporary was demonstrated when we decided to have lunch at a popular cafeteria. After loading a tray with food I attempted to join Lloyd who was cosily seated in a far corner. Right in the middle of the dining room, one of my feet decided to go off and do its own thing. My reaction was immediate! Bringing all my skills into play, I achieved an agile transference of weight to the other foot. To my dismay, it refused to co-operate, so back I went to the erring one.

To the loud accompaniment of breaking crockery, and the occasional yelp of alarm from me, this impromptu choreography was repeated until I managed to get both feet on the floor at the same time; and keep them there!

I had stubbornly refused to yield the tray and then wondered why. All that remained on it was one solitary saucer and a tiny packet of sugar! Looking down, I saw the former contents of the tray scattered in a neat arc around my feet. Lloyd, who had made haste to my rescue, was down on one knee vainly looking for at least one whole plate to retrieve.

Soon surrounded by sympathetic cafeteria ladies who assumed responsibility for the state of the floor, we were told kindly,

“Go and sit down dears, we’ll bring your lunch to you.”

The room was quiet as we made our way back to our table. The only sound was the head lady’s voice as she loudly and accurately deduced our order from the debris on the floor.” One roast chicken, peas and gravy, one mixed sandwiches, one pot of tea, one orange juice, one trifle, one plum pudding and custard!”

The ordeal of the long walk over, I tried to justify the incident by saying, “There must have been a sticky patch on the floor.”

“If there wasn’t one before, there certainly is one now!” said my embarrassed spouse. “How you are going to manage in America without a seeing-eye dog and an ambulance man in constant attendance, I really don’t know!”

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3 Comments on “‘My Jinx’”

  1. Dawn Haynes February 3, 2014 at 2:19 pm #

    you write so well Beryl I could picture it all as I was reading .

  2. Beryl Bowden January 31, 2014 at 5:44 pm #

    Nice to hear from you Jean.Keep well

  3. Jean Lowe January 30, 2014 at 11:07 am #

    Love your stories Beryl….looking forward to more Jean Lowe

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