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Graham Donachie's Stories
A Late Night Tale


It’s me again ...on the same Burns night.. Mari is off to bed wi’ a mind fu’ o’ Doric verse....

And I am left with a dram tae my’sel... and a wee tale tae tell...

This one is special tae me...It is a .. -feel good one-..for me....


This one deals wi’ ..how committing a grievous sin..or sins...can often wark for the good....

I once was a younger man.. I worked for the GPO in Dundee... There was nothing I did not know about the history.. or the day to day working efficiency.. of Her Majesty’s Post Office....in Scotland.. I came up through the ranks....from lowly postman....to a man of some knowledge
and trustworthiness..... I had gained two decades worth of postal knowledge ..and pryded myself on the dedication I felt for my Industry...and the affection I felt for my colleagues, who shared the same pryde and love of the old GPO..

But tymes change......And I found myself taking the advantage of a sideways move...into the realms of ..P.O.Counters..... This was a white collar move.... Not the best decision I ever made...but..I
made the best of it... To cut a long Saga short.... I was approached by my bosses..and asked if I would consider taking on a special position with PO Counters.. Head Office in Dundee...

It was a PR..job..meeting with the Public.. on an eye to eye basis...ground level.. sort of job... “ Do not Argue with the Customer” they are always right sort of job...

But I took it...and loved every moment.....Being an expert on every thing Postal...I was an advisor to any inquiry that Joe Public could ask... Being an expert on everything..in the Counters field.. I could advise on investments within the realm of GiroBank..National Savings....any query in the Post Office spectrum........could Graham ! ....lend an ear..and help with......

And many the bonnie lass did I come in contact with...This job was proving to have more perks..than I gave it credit for... So I was always busy..and laughs were many ..and office girls swirled their scented ways ..in and out of my lyfe....

It was on an ordinary day.....like any other.....when I was busy fending off flirtations and daft eyelash flutterings......when ..... She stumbled into my line of vision....

She came through the revolving doors...and spun, off balance..into the main office...into my domain......She looked..with a bewildered gape.... about the crowded place...High ceilings.. and the throng of busy office workers going about their business and wayward children, screaming and
bawling their spoilt ways, to the echoing vibrations of their constantly ignored girns.

My glance was superficial at first..Another auld ane...overpowered by the new..wishing things and places would remain as they once were...just for a few years at least...

But I could see that she was confused..and a bit anxious...and totally overwhelmed by all about her.....

She sat .. just in front of my small office....where a couch was placed, for those ladies who needed to pause....for a few moments...to wait until the Car would arrive to whisk them away......

She sat.. and stared her auld silent wyfie stare ....

I tryed to listen to the fool who bleated before me...He needed advice on some banal problem that only I could solve.....His dole money had not arrived that day....He could not afford the price of a
lager until the morrow.....Could I help him in his predicament.? I told him the second word was off...He left with a scowl...promising to wreak vengeance on me.....I vaulted the counter...and his arse smartly revolved it’s way..through the doors... out of the Head Office .......

The auld one still sat...looking and pondering upon some private problem...

I went back to my next customer...problems...inquiries...missing mail....just another day in the Lyfe of Graham......

Lunch tyme......A hasty tasty lipstick kissing lunch that one...

All smelling of Opium sweetness I was...arriving back to the tauntings and smart remarks of colleagues. A half hour to spare..back into my wee office to catch up on some thing......

Looked out.....to the sight of the auld wyfie...sobbing her eyes out into her hankie......

Now..... I do not know what you lads out there think..??? But.... There is something about the sight....

Of an auld wyfie..or an auld mannie......wha is reduced to a lonely bout o greetin....in the sadness o their auld age..and problems they should no hae any need tae concern themselves wi’............

And my heart was filled...and I became suddenly...Angry...for what reason.??

For the sight of that auld wyfie..alone on that couch.......

Leaving my privacy...I went out into the hubbub of the Head Office.....and approached the auld wyfe... No words spoken...I sat beside her....She looked up at me...I smiled and took her auld withered hand in mine...rubbed it gently..and I could see the start of new tears forming..but looked at her....offered my laundered handkerchief....which she accepted..like some fresh young dam...we both started to giggle...as if some silent naughty sub-liminal suggestion were between us...a shared
secret....

She was like a thousand other wyfies that lived in Dundee...but she had a problem..........and this is where I came in.................

She told me her story......... She lived alone in the multi-storie flats on the Hilltown....... She had no relatives still living in Dundee.........But... Her daughter...or son !!...I forget which........Lived in California...away in America...and they insisted that she come and live with them......

Now !!.. that was a far cry from Dundee..I said...but she told me she had visited California when on holiday..and had liked the Sun and the Ocean.... So....She had sold everything..was staying with a neighbour..and on the next Wednesday...she was flying out..to her new home to be with her family...and grandchildren.....

But she had a problem..... Like most women in Dundee....she was incredibly independent...A Jute Mill worker..As proud as any Ladye..with morals and standards and manners to match.... As a young struggling working woman..she started to pay an insurance premium into a ....’Well known Insurance Company’...the same company that my own dear mother payed into......However..as she was moving to her new lyfe in America...she had no choice but to cash in her insurance policy...........And that is where her problem arose...

For the past two weeks...this Company put everything in the way of having to cash in her policy.....They were making all sorts of excuses...all sorts of red tape....all sorts of beurocratic shite...all sorts of obstacles..in the way of this auld deary......And I was suddenly feeling ....all
sorts off pissed off.....

My mind was thinking of other things..other tymes...of my ain grannies..and of my mill working Ma...and I was getting angrier by the minute......

I decided...I would use my gifts ....that the Good Lord gave me..to help this auld wyfe..get her rightful due... So I calmed her the best I could..and assured her that I would phone the company..and get things straightened out..... -I am sure there must be a mix-up- .. I said to her...So I got one of the counter lasses to get her a cup o tea and a digestive........Settled her down I did....and a smile was brought back to her auld rosy toothless face...
................................................

On the phone I got .....To the Company in Meadowside......

-Good afternoon.....Company here ..Can I help you.??

ME... My name is Donachie !...Graham Donachie !...DONACHIE....GRAHAM !....

How can I help you sir..””

ME....-I would like very much to speak to the Manager of the Company please-....

Sorry sir...but the Manager is not available at the moment......

ME....-Can I have a word with his secretary then--

I’m sorry sir ..She is not available either...Can I help.??..

ME...-Yes please...can I leave a message ?.. I am the Head Post Master of Dundee and for the District of the County of Angus......

OH...

ME...Can I speak to the Manager please....

Well ..I can now pass you through to his secretary.........

It was at this moment that I took my chance....

I told his secretary that I was the Head Postmaster for Dundee and the Shire of Angus...... A blatant lie and a ridiculous claim...

My Grandmother was leaving Dundee to live with my brother in far away America....... Another blatant lie.....

I insisted her insurance policy be cashed immediately..and lay her fears to rest....She told me ....quite abruptly..That only the Manager could authourise such a transaction............ I asked to speak to him..... Again ...He was not available...

So....I used all my powers of Yogic Teaching.....breathing forever outwards....keeping my vast knowledge of ..F..words..inward.....I explained to this lass... I will phone you back in ten minutes....If Mr Manager is still not available...I will have no choice but to ask you for your Head
Office number in London....

-We are not at liberty to give out that number sir-....she replied.....

Look Lass.....I said....I have only to pick up my phone....And my fellow Postmaster in Central London...will just be too happy to assist me with this ridiculous problem... I said..I will phone back in ten minutes....

I did.....and the lass assured me that my grandmother could pick up a check for her money at any tyme......

I said NO...as I knew that the banks needed three working days to cash ...even a bank check....Cash is what my Gran payed to the Company.....so cash is what she would receive........
So that was agreed upon..............

I was drained...........

I looked out..through my window at the auld ane..... Shabby of dress, and lacking of tooth....I smiled with the good feeling of the news I was about to give her...........

So I told her to go into the Office in Meadowside..and they would pay her ..in Cash....her surrendered policy..........That auld deary was so happy...and gave me a wee cuddle for my troubles.....

She knew nothing of my dealings with The Company....but I told her..if anyone should ask of me......She should act dumb.....
...........................................................
It was on the next Tuesday....when I was  at my post..... she came again.. into my vision.........
All smiles this tyme.......New outfit... She shouldered past the folks waiting in line....and gave me a cuddle..and a teary smack on my cheek .... She was for Americay that very next day...off to the land of the Forty Niners...

And insisting I should take this wad..that she pressed into my hand...For helping her and sorting out her problem.

But I would have none of this cash nonsense I said.

Was not she, as a Gran to me ?.. I asked her.....She laughed at that one...But insisted I take payment...for the trouble and tyme I had taken on her behalf.......

So ...I asked her ...when holding her hand on that far away Tuesday.......

If she would think of me....when in that New Land of California.... When it came to Christmas..
Would she send me a card..to let me know how she was ..?........#

So she went away.......... And my life just went on as usual........

I remember the Christmas celebrations we were having...the party...the wine..the dancing..and the singing and the woozy feelings.........

A postie friend of mine...Jim Crooks...appeared at my office desk..through a haze of booze..I saw him hold up this envelope and point to the scrawl written on it... Well ...He asked me if I had any friends in America......I said no... Well the writing is so spidery and vague........I will send it down for shredding he said....OK Jim ..I replied... Nice stamps he shouted......Californian ones.........For some reason..my ears pricked up..... I ran after him....And asked to see the letter...........

It was certainly a scribble..........But the Dundee was there...and the Head Post Office....was legible.....and a name which was smudged....But the word..Inquiries........ I told him I would accept it... He was not sure...so I tore it open in his presence..........

And as sure to her promise.......here was the news for me..she was happy in her new lyfe with her remaining family..and she gave to me ...A God Bless ....

My son still has that card in his possession.........

I was lucky enough to be there..at that tyme...to be able to help that auld wyfe..in her tyme of need.............

But it took the Sin.... of lies..of deceit...and of aggressiveness toward folk who were only doing what they were payed to do.........

Sometymes ...maybe a lie or two..or a simple sin...can make a happiness....

Graham


Read other stories from Graham Donachie

 


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