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There was no short way to write this story /poem that happened forty years ago - It taught me the lesson, that everyone is worth getting to know and that friendships mean a lot to those that really value them.
¬¬Well, my father was a printer and arranged that I was too.
And then rescued me to join him when decided he was through.
They were big footsteps to follow, as I'd got myself a wife
But he filled me up with confidence, enough to last for life.
We grew our business slowly, knowing work would soon appear
Spending hours on the road each day, we talked our way through fear.
And twice a week we shared a van and drove to London town,
With samples to a chemist’s lab – as our contract duty bound.
In return for this commitment, we delivered ton on ton
of tablets round the country - and saw our haulage days begun.
Oh, that journey was so dear to us - it gave us chance to plan,
Plus to mend the world and air our dreams like only family can.
For the year before I joined him, Dad had made this trip alone
To a seedy lab in Whitechapel - three floors above a dome.
And the first time that he took me to this lonely, dingy street
He introduced me to a chap you wouldn't normally meet.
A large and limping refuse man - complete with cart and broom,
Who came trundling up to greet us, like we couldn't come too soon.
He said, "Allo Bryn is this your boy? He looks just like you said.
Mum's made enough for three of us - I hope he likes brown bread."
Then he climbed inside and filled the cab to shelter from the rain.
and he shook my hand with numbing grip - saying "Billy is me name.
Your old man's really good to me, he's the only one what cares,
As most folk hardly knows I'm here, aside from those what stares..."
“We meets up here two times a week, and have our little chats,
An he tells me bout his boxing and I tells him bout me cats.
On Thursdays I brings crusty rolls on Tuesday's he brings cake,
Just me Mum, she likes her baking and she's chuffed I've got a mate.”
Now as our loads they got bigger, Dad spent more time in his lorry.
Leaving me to do the samples, and new business my first quarry.
You see, we needed more deliveries to make it worth the trip,
So I knocked on doors and rung some bells and tried to get a grip.
It was then we had a piece of luck, as a company up the road
Had seen our vans and thought it right to try us with a load.
So they filled me up from front to back, with drops in London town,
and it took an age to plan the route and find my way around.
But on Tuesday's and on Thursday's I still did the sample drop
But found little time for Billy, but occasionally I'd stop.
He understood, he'd seen us full with boxes floor to ceiling,
And he wondered how we did it all from West Ham through to Ealing.
And then at last that fateful day, to London without Dad.
I was loaded full of cameras with the samples in the cab.
I'd parked up in our usual spot, but hadn't seen our mate,
So I grabbed the pills and climbed the stairs for fear of being late.
Then just as I’d got to the top, our alarm let out its cries
I looked down to see a nightmare taking place before my eyes.
There were both my van doors open wide and a car was backed up tight.
And there was movement and loud shouting from a God almighty fight.
I saw three masked men and Billy, who was keeping them at bay.
He'd laid two out with his shovel and a third had run away.
I quickly galloped down the stairs to see what I could do,
and found Billy trying to wake one, as the other one came to.
He’d bound them up with cable ties, no fear they’d run away
He said, “a lady’s rung the cop shop and the police were on their way.
It's just a shame your Dad ain’t here, he would have loved the scrap
And we might have got the third one, he was such a big old chap.”
Well the police got there in minutes and they quickly took control
And the crooks looked very sorry that they'd dug themselves a hole.
They just hadn’t planned for Billy who had heard the van’s alarm go
And had as much idea as we did – that old Bill was ex Commando.
I phoned my Dad first chance I could, once statements had been taken.
And old Billy was commended; he was pride of Brick Lane Station.
Boy, it really does come home to you, when you're victim of a crime,
That you never know what kind of friend - will step up to the line.
Copyright © Dennis East | Year Posted 2016