Monday, 12 March 2012

A Parsimonious Man.

There was no electricity in the crofthouse. We only had candles or oil lamps. As a twelve year old boy fresh from the big city, I was fascinated by this. I soon learned that if a spat on a hot oil lamp glass it would shatter with a satisfying crack. Naturally after a half dozen or so glasses had been damaged in this way, Mum had determined that I was the culprit. Anyway the fascination had soon worn off.
A quick drawing of the little crofthouse. My bedroom was on the left.

One night as I lay in bed in my attic room, reading by the warm glow of the oil lamp, I became aware of something hitting the skylight and rattling down the roof. Someone was throwing stones at the skylight! I got up and opened the skylight. It was my step dad Jimmy.

"Put that lecht oot Laddie!" He said this in what I can only describe as a loud whisper. Translated into English what he was saying was, "put that light out."

He was what can be described as a man careful with money. This was why he wanted the lamp extinguished. The reason for throwing the stones to attract my attention, and the reason for the whispering, was because he didn't want Mum to know what he was saying. He knew that it would lead to an argument about his meanness.

In Jimmy's defence I have to say, that he had lived on his own for a very long time, having become a widower as a young man. He had his way of doing things, and he did not believe in spending his hard earned money too easily. That is not a fault. That is just the way he was.

I think he was too scared of my Mum's reaction if he disciplined me directly. He found her outbursts difficult to deal with. I can't say I blamed him.

But a sixty year old, throwing stones up at the skylight, and feeling he has to whisper! What does that say about him? More importantly though, as far as I am concerned is, what does this say about my Mother?


  1. You sure are in a reflective mode, John! My dad was scared of my mum and in fact all 4 of my siblings I think were the same. Women can be scary at times.

  2. Jimmy sounds a bit like my father. He worked hard for his money and he didn't believe in wasting it. If you left a room you turned out the lights. He never replaced something because it was broken if he could fix it either

  3. Interesting tale. It says a lot about some family dynamics.

  4. Lovely tale from the past. My dad left us when I was only six. Actually mom kick him out for being a womanizer and a bit of a gambler too. Not much to tell about my dad. Happy blogging to you.

  5. Hopefully you learned from this experience and haven't repeated all areas. Ya know what I mean?

  6. I always remember my Dad saying, put the lights out we're not made of money you know. You'll understand when you have to pay the bills. You were right Dad! Well told tale of your past life. Thanks for stopping by and I happen to agree with your comment :)

  7. Hello John I had a chuckle from Paul's comment. I know that my Dad was afraid of my Mom sometimes but it was more the other way around. Take care John I like your stories. Bad lantern breaking boy:) B