Recently my wife turned 35 (at least that’s what we tell the children), one child turned eight and the other turned six. There have been many parcels and cards for all three – loads and loads of parcels and cards for everyone, every day. But not one for me. Nothing for me but bills. Until today – when a postcard arrives.
It is addressed, somewhat peremptorily, to STRATFORD in upper case, the street address in title case, CAMBRIDGE in upper case again. There is no signature. Curious.
The picture on the other side is the one above: a small boy dressed up as a cowboy. Curious.
I have no interest in cowboys, or in small boys for that matter. Why would anyone send me a picture of one dressed in this fashion? I can’t help wishing that the small boy in the photo had a dog with him, as all small boys should, because then it would be a cowboy dog.
But wait – there is a caption. It reads: “C K Stead, c1939”. So this is a promotional postcard for CK’s new book, South-West of Eden: A Memoir, 1932-1956. Curiouser.
And there is a hand-written message. It reads:
Sleep with one eye open when you slumberCuriouser and curiouser. Research (i.e. Google) reveals that these lines are from the fifth verse of a Bob Dylan song, Billy 4, on his soundtrack to Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid. I have never heard this song and have no idea what any of this means or who this postcard is from. Could it be from K of Henderson? Could it be from a mysterious international beauty – Swedish, Russian, Tuareg, who knows? – intent on luring me from my rural fastness? Could it be. . .? My mind races with possibilities.
Every little sound just might be thunder
Thunder from the barrel of his gun.
When my wife comes home from work I show her the postcard. She says, in that deflating way wives have, “That’s from Peter.”