I’m not even sure of the name of the storybook – and it’s long out of print by now – but I vividly recall that our all-time favourite tale was the one about Boney Bart. Its official title was “The Thin Cook” and Boney Bart was the eponymous chef who, one day, due to his all-too-thin frame, came to a rather unfortunate end involving a cook-sized mincer.
It was a bit more Roald Dahl than Dr. Seuss but, as kids, we were clearly not averse to a spot of kitchen horror and loved having our Da recount the not-so-happily-ever-after yarn of Boney Bart. There were other stories too – usually relayed from Dad’s familiar armchair position and not always involving a bad end and a mincer – and though we eventually swapped fairy tales for something more grown up, we would always return to hear his stories and, in turn, regale him with our own (or at least to the extent, in later years, that his worsening deafness would allow).
It’s a year to the day since he slipped away and, though we still have lots of stories for him, it’s a bit harder for him to hear us now (yes, even harder than when we had to shout at him on the phone). He loved this time of year, with its lengthening days and promise of new growth and, among other stories, would have been pleased to hear that this week saw the planting of my hopeful little crop of potatoes for this year.
And so it is that potatoes go on, and life goes on, and Da’s story is our new favourite tale. Like the story of Boney Bart, it’s one that we will never tire of hearing.