What Pegman Saw: On the foreshore eating apples with Dad

Image: Google Street View

Dad was a crane driver at the docks, loading and unloading shipping containers, ten hours a day, six days a week.

Often, to keep us from getting under Mum’s feet, Dad took us with him, left us mudlarking on the foreshore as he swung the sulphur crane limb towards the sea, towards the shore.

I was small then, unable to translate the containers’ markings into words, the words into thoughts.

Dad would join us on the pier at break time, share a square of cheese, chewy ends of loaf, one soft apple.

I’d pester, ‘What’s inside the big boxes, Dad?’ ‘Where are they going?’ ‘Who would need so many things?’

He’d shrug, look mystified, as if it had never crossed his mind to wonder.

That was the difference between us. I needed to know how the world worked, he was content that it did.

***

Written for What Pegman Saw, the prompt that uses Google Street View as its starting point. Today we are in Paraguay. See here to join in, share and comment.

19 thoughts on “What Pegman Saw: On the foreshore eating apples with Dad

  1. Knowing where you live, I wonder if this is in part a memory? Has that feel to it. And I can imagine you’d get ships in from South America. We get ours from the Baltic and Scandinavia.
    Nice take on the prompt. 🙂

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  2. Lovely story. I’m with the narrator on this one. I need to understand things in order to accept them. I am beginning to consider this trait to be a character flaw in myself.

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    1. I get that view, though I accept there is so much in the world I will never understand. Either because I don’t have the right brain for it or because it’s unfathomable. Good too have an enquiring mind though. Thanks for reading Josh

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  3. I like the gentle pace of the narrative, especially where you take time to describe the shared lunch in loving detail. And you perfectly convey the desire of a child to know how things work. A very pleasant read.

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    1. Thanks so much Penny. Sometimes it’s just nice to describe a scene, practice showing character, isn’t it? So important to get that right whether writing something very short or a novel. They’re three beginning and from character all else comes. Thanks for reading

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    1. Good word, isn’t it? People used to make a (meager) living from it, picking along the Thames foreshore, finding other people’s treasurer to sell. Plenty of mud, though not sure about the larks 😀

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  4. Mudlarking! What a great term!
    And I love the pace of this. I think I’d be like the child – I’d want to know what was what. Probably best to be like the dad, though.

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    1. Ha! I’m definitely in three child’s camp, though I know my limits. There’s so much I don’t understand about the world and about people and I know I never will. Thanks Dale

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  5. It’s great when you can capture the essential difference between two people in a single anecdote that shows how one takes this path while the other diverges. Well done!

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