“RED SHOES NO KNICKERS! Lord help us Arthur. Our Meg’s got no britchers on!”
Arthur, Nan’s hapless old budgerigar screeched and flapped a fit to supplement the old woman’s guffawing, as my cheeks burned crimson to match the colour of my very shiny, cherry red T-bars!
“Pleased to meet you Meg,” said the doctor shaking my hand. “Quite a character your Nan isn’t she!
“Erm.... yes Doctor. You could say that!”
Bit of an enigma, my Nan. Rough as diamonds, yet one of the old school ‘Missioners,’ with a heart of pure gold, and eager to ‘share her testimony’ with anyone who’ll listen. I’ve been around long enough to recite the tale word for word. It always starts the same.
“When I was twenty five years old, I gave my heart and life to The Lord Jesus.”
Obviously my Nan was born a quarter of a century old as I’ve never heard reference to a pre- Christian life, well other than the whisperings of the congregational gossips. Apparently, if Mary Clements could, ‘get saved,’ then there was hope for anybody!
Now back to the shoe thing. Ok, I’m a girl! I have a passion for shoes, and I especially like red ones. I confess to owning three or four pair of the aforementioned forbidden fruit, well maybe more actually, but I don’t wear them all at the same time.
I have diamante trim sling backs, patent snake peep toes, Chipi vulcanised pumps and my very favourites, a pair of brand new polka dot Birkis.
I LOVE RED SHOES! But does that turn me into a scarlet woman with no requirement for something as sensible as bloomers!
I love my Nan to bits too. In fact everyone loves my Nan. She’s outspoken, outrageous, has a wicked sense of humour and loves the Lord dearly. She’s renowned for speaking her mind and nothing but the gospel truth. And God love her, in her 90th year, her inhibitions have departed this world ahead of the rest of her!
Unfortunately the memory’s not far behind. She’ll forget that the doctor paid a visit before he’s down the drive, but constantly tells me about Grandpa wearing a borrowed suit that his mother washed and ironed for their wedding. That was 70 years ago!
“Nan, do you remember how I loved to dress up when I was a little girl?” I asked, tidying escapee wisps of silvery hair from her bun.
“Never wear red or pink,” interjected Nan with a gummy cackle. “It doesn’t match your hair!”
“Spot on Nan!” I laughed. “Those were your very words.”
“Never wear red or pink!” parroted the demented Arthur. “Lord help us!”
Oh I do love my Nan. She only ever ‘tells it like it is.’ No pussy footing to soften the blow. So it seems that the combination of my red hair and shoes turn me into someone rather risqué, a lady of the night!
“Wherever does such an old sweetie get her ideas from Arthur,” I asked. Naturally he ignored me and set about beating his bird brains out in the mirror.
Transport arrived to take Nan to her lovely new apartment at the Evangelical Christian Home for the elderly. I explained again that I was taking Arthur to the home of her dear friend, the retired Pastor who had kindly offered to take care of him until she was settled.
Today it was raining fast and pulling on my Wellington boots, oh yes, I have RED WELLIES too; I set off to collect Arthur from the Pastor for Nan. Looking older than Methuselah and named Noah, small wonder he had a penchant for animals!
“Pastor Noah,” I began, “Have you known my Nan for long?
“Oh let me see,” he said, stroking his beard. “About a lifetime I would say.”
“Really? You mean before she attended the Mission Hall?”
“Indeed. It was by my invitation that she first came.”
“Oh do tell Pastor Noah. Nan has such respect for your integrity. I know that like her, you’ll tell it like it is.”
Noah’s feathers looked ruffled, and leaning forward in his rocker, drew in a deep breath.
“Ah well.... you see”....
We were interrupted by feather brain who apparently had just spied my wellies, and with silly green head cocked to one side, in true Arthur fashion squawked,
“Lord help us. Red shoes no knickers. Lord have mercy!”
Pastor Noah sat up with a sanctified jolt.
“Eh...hmmm,” he stuttered. “That just about sums it up!”
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