‘OH! bother it. Cant find it in this undergrowth dear. Do you need it for school ?”
“Daddy it was moms and she trusted it with me. I want it back “
; Indeed you do. .Are you sure you lost the necklace here and why in fact did you wear to go to school in. “
” Daddy all my friends wanted to see it.Girls do that you know. “
;” Not a sign of it. Been right trough the weeds and plants. Mothers garden in this state terrifies me . No time to do any work on it .Im needed at work in half an hour. Look are you ready?’
‘ In in my uniform daddy of course Im ready.’
‘ Right Ill walk you to the bus stop dear.”
” And moms necklace?”
“Have another look tonight.”
‘ In the dark when you come home ?”
” Yes ,yes flash light .Yes that will be easier.Now let us sort you out and on your way to school dear.”
” Oh! how I miss mommy she always knew what to do.”
“You and me both Alice. She was my world .Now lets trot or you will miss school today.”
It was much later at the office that Harry Portland sat at his desk as a trader. His seat of power at risk his knack of working in shares was that moment taking a tumble. Truth was his mind was drifting and if he could not break out of the dive out of reality he faced doom. He world died when his wife Amanda passed on aged just 34 of a massive stroke .One moment making dinner next slumped over and on the kitchen floor before he could jump out of this chair. Six months ago he was that man in the picture to his bosses a real super star. Now he was nose diving towards unemployment as deal after deal failed .Melted away like soft snow on a warm pavement, before his eyes.
He was warned the red light still did not flash in his mind and by 6pm he was on his way home with a week wage and a reverence from his boss after a goodbye handshake. For Harry it could only get worse and it had too.
“Eat your green Alice .Things are not as I would like and eating good food may be not long term.I will think my way back up .So help us both dear will you eat the greens they will build you up. “
‘ Daddy your sad .Is it Mommy on your mind.”
‘ Yes dear as I know she is in your mind too. ”
‘ My friends laughed as I had promised to show them my necklace .”
:The necklace .Come Ill find the flash light in my shed. ”
: Ill come to as im far better at finding things than you are now Daddy”
Hour later and no batteries in torch he was becoming upset and irritable . When vexed he shouted at his daughter and she ran crying to her bedroom locking the door behind her .
He sat down with a flop on the workbench top and puzzled his way out of a mess build up against him. He could shoot himself and end the misery of life in London without Amanda .No job .A daughter who was slipping away from him. .He slid back into the kitchen took down the wooden box and removed his old army revolver. He was fumbling for the ammunition box when suddenly the door bell rang.
He listened to it for a time; stunned as if in a trance, he eventually arrived at the front door and when opened again on the world there stood a man with a suit case .”Good evening Sir my name is Ponderby. Im here to take the job offered. “
Harold stood amazed and open mouthed.
“Close the mouth fish may jump in sir. Now shall we progress to the inner of your abode it is rather damp on the doorstep sir.:
‘I never had an advert for a butler did I.”
” No sir you did not and I am not a butler.Shall I make tea.Oh! my Lord what a mess in here. Look you sit down here put your feet up and rest . “
It was morning when he woke in bed .He puzzled hard to focus was it all a dream.He wandered down to Saturday morning and was stunned in his tracks to witness a tidy sparkling house and on the table lay his wifes neclace.
“Good morning Sir .Slept well.So important . Tea sir in the morning room.This way sir.’
He followed like a lamb to mothers milk. Then seeing how the lounge looked so lovely tears ran down his cheeks.’ look old chap I cant pay you a penny I lost my job. “
” Ponsonby my name sir. Never mind allow me to work here and all will fall into place. Your wifes necklace I discovered in the garden rose bush. So all is well for your daughter now can show her friend Mary Paxton . Tea sir. “
“Ponsonby just how did you know that?”
” It is my job to know sir. Cake .its Bakewell tart your favourite I made it last night for you sir. “
With a smile he handed over a side plate bearing a good sized chunk of cake .”Now your daughter is up sir just make her bacon and egg. Same for you sir is it?”
Ponsonby we have nothing in the fridge. Need to shop I fear.”
‘ Have it all sorted this morning sir .”
Harry stood up to take the empty plate to the sinkside. He was again open mouthed in sheer shock as all cupboards and shelves over spilled with food stuffs in cans pack and fridge opened to month or more supplies.
; I owe you all of this man what am I going to do Ponsonby?”
“Do sir. Well ! right now sit down and enjoy breakfast then ring this number on your phone.”He with that handed him a small business card bearing the name of a unknown man.
‘ Who am I ringing please ?”
‘ It relates to a job offer sir.He will know all about your problems .Never fear all is in hand. Ar! Young and lovely miss Alice here is your place and bacon and egg for you my dear. ”
” Daddy who is this man in our house.”
” Oh! its Ponsonby .He did find your mothers necklace dear.”
‘ Amazing and thank you so much .But why are you here may I ask?”
‘ Here breakfast enjoy. You will know all soon enough Alice”
He rang to number on the card soon after breakfast and came back in to his kitchen to find all dishes had been washed and dried and replaced in store.
Just then Ponsonby appeared with his coat on .”I am off to the city sir. Have any requirements for me to fetch here .?”
“I have not a penny having paid the rates on phone . Your man wants to see me at 2pm in The Savoy Hotel lounge .I mean to say could he not have seen me in his office?”
‘ I would say it matters not sir .Just go and he will buy coffee for you. I dare say he needs a star such as you sir so would not concern yourself further. Just relax sit back and keep your ears open is my advice sir. Must dash tat tar . “
At dinner that evening Ponsonby had prepared it and vanished .
” Is it chicken Dad?”
“Alice i did not make it. Just try it hey .Be a good girl .You may even like it. “
He pushed his fork into the pastry case and offered the forkfull to his mouth .
His eyes opened wide his taste buds danced a jig and he looked at Alice who was the same. Not a word was said during the meal until Ponsonby appeared in the kitchen as they finished.
“Icecream pavola anyone”
” How do you do it Ponsonby .Your a marvel. Food was beyond words .I have a job on more cash than before.”
‘ Yes Sir you do and start at 9am in morning sharp. With your new wage may I suggest you employ a cook and cleaner I know needs a good home. “
‘Ponsonby yes but will that mean your leaving us.”
‘ Yes sir my work is done. I have enjoyed being of service again . All your problems now may go, one hopes. “
‘ Your packed ready to go. ”
‘ No Sir These cases are yours .You see your wife sent them sir. “
Ponsonby melted away like morning mist never to be see again.
Inside the cases a gallery of photographs that had long been lost .In this six photos of his wife as girl and six as a woman in love. Her bed gown warm as if she had just stepped out of it he held to his cheek as tears ran down his cheeks .Alice stood frozen her face unsure .The voice said .Im here with you fear not life but live it to the full Alice. Darling husband ill wait for you pine for me not Im here with both of you.
He looked at Alice who was smiling and as he turned there she was as she had been in life smiling back melting into the curtains and gone. Alice ran to his arms as the sat on the floor saying nothing.Peace had come down on them for first time since she left them. He pinched himself hard to see if it was dream .Her sweet perfume filled the room and he knew she was there .Alice smiled through the tears and life returned back to happy days . Who Ponsonby was he never found out. On reflection he knew it all had helped so much it amazed him. He became top man in his job and was known as a gifted fair advisor in shares.He kept his word and hired a lady Friday to run his home. Alice loved her and all went so well after that.
Sometimes when at night he wakes that scent she wore he detects and up he gets to look for Amanda he know is not faraway.Though he is only dreaming. The reality of life soon returns and he sighs . Stretches and gets on with the day Who Ponsonby was he ponders .Then smiles as the penny drops.
Yours in gratitude for your readership and loyal selves. Sir Kevin thanks you all.
Kevin James Parr Bt Copyright 4th June 2021