Grandpa and Me

My grandfather took me to Kennington Oval

When I was about six years old

He tried to explain all the rules of the game

And he gave me a scorecard to hold

But all I could see were some men in white jumpers

Occasionally moving and running and stuff

And a building on which they’d display random numbers

That I couldn’t possibly hope to add up

My grandfather gave me some tea from his flask

And unwrapped for me two sugar lumps

He said there is the batsman and there is the bowler

And those are the bails and the stumps

And those are the covers and that is the boundary

There’s silly mid-on and there’s silly mid-off

And I thought of course that was so silly sounding

And repeated it until he said that’s enough

Some things you remember

Some things you forget

But this I recall vividly

When we went to the Kensington Oval - Grandpa and me

We sat there in silence for what seemed like a lifetime

As the sky turned from white to dark grey

And then he held his newspaper over our heads

As the rain interrupted play

We stood in a shelter and every two minutes

I’d ask him "Grandpa is the rain going to stop?"

And he’d look at the sky and scrunch up his eyes

And say "Maybe it will, then again may be not"

We were soaked to the skin and I was getting hungry

So off we went to try and find a phone

But there was long queue and Grandpa grew grumpy

And all we wanted to do was go home

Then we waited for Grandma to pick us up in the car

But she was a terrible driver and was always getting lost

So we stood by the road in the rain for an hour

Though I was sure that was her in each car that went past

But eventually she arrived

And that old car was warm and dry inside

And they wrapped me in a blanket and I fell asleep

Between Grandma and Grandpa on the front bench seat

Time has moved on

And Grandpa has gone

But I still have have this memory

When we went to the Kensington Oval - Grandpa and me

Grandpa was a doctor in Five Lane Ends, Bradford

And his surgery was in the house at the back

Despite his religiousness

He’d do his rounds in the car on Yom Tov and Shabbat

Grandma and Grandpa kept a kosher household

Two sets of dishes and two sets of plates

One for the milchech and one for the fleishick

God help them if they got mixed by up mistake

Before their son David got married

They taught this practice to

their future daughter in law

Who though her family were Jewish

They were Reform Jewish

And to them that was almost not Jewish at all

If you must know the truth

Said Grandma to Ruth

On the night of your wedding there’s a thing you must do

and it only will take you two minutes

Then maybe you’ll give us a grandchild or two

But this all hear say

As for me, I only remember that day

When my grandparents came down to London to stay

And Yorkshire were playing Surrey away

And on that visit

As we watched cricket

And he held my hand so tightly

When we went to the Kennington Oval

Grandpa and me

Then my parents divorced

And we children of course

We had little further contact

And my fathers affair with a non jewish woman

They were not prepared to accept that

Thought the children she bore him - their grandchildren too

Despite his requests for their blessing

His letters unopened, the law had been broken

No forgiving and no forgetting

I’ve been to their graves in Netanya

And as I light the yartzheit candles for them

I ask them if they remember

Being caught in the rain

At the Vauxhall End

And now I’ve a grandson

A grandson myself

When he is older we

Will to the Kennington Oval

My grandson and me