Fite Loaf an' Reed Wine
by: Munro, Mary
There wis a fine peace an' quaet that Saiturday nicht in the hoose. Donal an' Nessie settled doon at the fireside, cosy an' contentit. Nessie lowsed her stays an' pit in her rollers an' Donal teemed his gums o' his falsers
an' streekit oot tae watch the box - a fine, quaet nicht!
"Mine, ye've tae hae yer bath later on."
Donal lookit o'er the heid o' his glesses an' pit doon the Evenin Paper. "Fit div I need a bath for?" he speired at her. Ye see, Donal wis brocht up in the time fan a body wis mair or less shewn intae their flannel underclaes for the winter an' he still thocht ower muckle waater took aa the gweedness oot o' ye. Donal wid hae been fine pleased tae hae bidden lang syne fan naebody bothered ower muckle wi baths - ye jist splashed some smelly stuff o'er yersel tae hud doon the guff!
"Weel, ye ken fine it's Communion at the Kirk the morn," Nessie explained, "an' I dinna think ye've hid a richt bath since the last ane!" Donal grummled up the stairs, his glowers an' mutters nae cuttin ony ice wi his wife. Nessie lookit oot his Kirk claes an' gied his weddin' suit a gweed brush. It wis near forty year auld, thon suit, bit there wis nae muckle a dee wi it, fan she hid aired it a file tae get rid o' the foosty smell an' brushed the fluff an' stew oot o' the turnups o' the troosers. Donal didna see the need tae waste gweed siller on a new suit fan the navy pin-stripe wis aye there in the press, even though it wis a bit shiny at the knees an' elbows - it wis aye in ae piece an' did fine.
The neist day, they got roadit for the Kirk. There wis nae excuses for missin Communion wi Nessie - ye wid hae hid tae catch the Black Plague or be on yer death-bed afore ye got tae bide at hame.
"Ye niver ken fan ye'll need the Kirk - ye wint tae be pit tae Tullich decent-like, fan yer time comes, an', if ye dinna ging regular tae Communion, ye'll get yer name scored aff the Roll - ye'll be 'excommunicated'." (She wis awfu pleased wi that big wird). Sae Donal did as he wis tellt. "Onythin for a bit o' peace" wis his motto.
The cannles were kinnelt on the altar table an' the Kirk bells clanged roon the village tae gaither the fowk. There wis aye a gweed turn-oot at the Communion an' ye could see the minister glowerin roon his flock, pursin his mim moo as if tae say, "Far are ye the ither Sundays?" Donal an' Nessie jist plunkit themsels doon in the pew nearest the door, bit fan Nessie hid a gleck aboot her, her hert fell tae her weel-polished sheen. Gweed be here, she'd landed richt next tae Breembogs fae up the road. Wullie fae Breembogs wis a richt enough chiel bit nae ower fussy aboot soap an' waater. His wife an' him hid a real throw-ither kinna life an' Breembogs wis a gey ill-run place wi loads o' trock lyin roostin roon the biggins an' a pleiter o' dubs aye sossin up the close. The baker's van mannie, a bit o' a wit, aye said he hid tae dicht his feet aifter he cam oot o' the hoose, nae afore he went in. Wullie fairly roared oot the hymns - he fair enjoyed the singin bit naebody nearhaun did, for it wis a on ae note an' his Amen wis aye a gweed feow seconds aifter abody else hid feenished. Ye hid tae gie him a tug or a putt tae get him tae sit doon on his dock.
Bit the real reason abody tried tae avoid sittin neist tae Wullie wis the Communion Cup! The Kirk in the village still likit the tradition o' the auld, silver communal cup - a bonny-like thing wi scrolls an' falderalls, bit nae exactly hygienic files. Sure enough, aifter the fite bitties o' loaf passed by, ben cam the Cup, an' Nessie watched in horror as Breembogs hid a gweed swig. He managed tae keep his beard oot bit the fool-lookin mousers were in the wine as he slurped awa.
"Gad Sakes," thocht Nessie as she took the cup fae Wullie, fa wis dichtin his moo an' mousers wi a fool-like cloot. She turned it roon the ither side an' took a little sook, thinkin a the time o' the hornygollachs o' germs sweemin aboot amun the wine.
"Weel, quine, that's oor sins aa forgiven again for a feow mair months," he grinned at Ness, as they waited tae get oot o' the pew. "Come up for yer fly sometime - the wife is aye sayin she niver sees mony fowk up in oor neck o' the wids."
"I'll fairly dee that," Ness said - for there wis nae ill in Wullie, an' his wife wis a real hame-ower wifie, maybe a bit gallus files, bit real couthy wi it.
Donal breathed a sigh o' relief tae get oot o' his Kirk claes intae his cords an' galluses again. He hid hodged an' squirmed in the Kirk in his stiff collar an' hard shiny beets. He aye thocht the Elders lookit like a line o' penguins mairchin doon the aisle, an' he hid a quaet smile tae himsel aboot Breembogs' yalla-tippit mousers as he settled doon wi the 'News o' the World'.
"It widna dee if we were a' the same," he thocht, "bit I bet he didna hae tae tak a bath afore he went tae the Communion!"