Here is another short story for the group of writing friends I belong to, inspired by this painting as a writing prompt.
Scottish Thistles and a New Adventure.
The Scottish thistle is the symbol of my adventuring journeys as that is where my father came from. My father was born in Barassie, Ayrshire in Scotland. The motto that accompanies the Scottish thistle is: ‘wha daur meddle wi’ me? Or in Latin: nemo me impune lacessit. This means “no one provokes me with impunity.” It is said that the Scottish thistle has the defiant or obstinate ability to shoot up and flourish despite the efforts by people to remove it. My father was stubborn and tenacious. And he was also a very adventurous little boy, whose journey often ended up at the harbour with the fishermen instead of school. He played truant a lot. And he began some not so savoury adventures too, such as the start of his smoking at the tender age of six years old. His adventures also included a pony he rode on the beach, a dog he shared raw oysters with and a little rowing boat he fixed up at the age of eleven years old. He loved boats so much that he joined the British Merchant Navy in his teens and went on to become a sea captain.
But I digress; I want to tell you about his little rowing boat he fixed up. He spent many hours fixing the holes, sanding and painting; eventually he and his friends were ready to take to the sea. His mother was so proud of him and excited. Her neighbour even lent her their binoculars so that she could watch from her house, which was not far off from the beach. My father was not aware of her watching him from her home porch.
They dragged the boat down the beach as the sun peeked out from behind the clouds. Across from the beach they could see Isle of Arran. “Wouldn’t it be nice if we could row over to Isle of Arran!” they laughed. “Aye, it’s a bit far,” said another. They pushed the boat into the shallow water and then into the waves. It heaved up and down as the waves slapped the sides of the boat. My father jumped in first and took the oars, and they all jumped in after him. He rowed with all his might for a little eleven years old because he was not a big fella.
Well it was just as well that they had buckets at hand because it was noticed that one of the holes was not sufficiently mended, and my father cried “bail!” As they bailed do you know what he did? He stopped rowing, took out his cigarettes and he lit one up not knowing that my grandmother was watching him all the while through the binoculars. They say that was the day she found out about his smoking. I don’t know what she said to him when he got home, but I guess she wasn’t as impressed with him then as at the start of the day. I doubt that he cared then as he was a young and free spirited boy. He probably thought “ ‘wha daur meddle wi’ me?” His heart was full of adventures his whole life and that is how he came to South Africa.
Who says you are too old for a new adventure? The joy of walking new paths, exploring new ways and ideas and meeting new people are all part of living an adventure for me. As I have grown older I have become hungrier for adventure. And next year I plan to follow the thistle back to Scotland to make a new home. Hopefully it will be with much joy for us.