Fifth Birthday

The twins were two weeks short

of five years old,

already dancing with delight

at thoughts of the little party

to be held on their special day.


'Hey, Ducklings,

Big birthday coming up.

Any thoughts about what you'd like

from Mummy and Daddy?'

They were savvy kids.

I was not nervous

to ask such a bold question.


Cyanne screwed up her face intently,

'One of those things

that has bars all different colours

and you hit them with a stick

and the bars make singing

any way you want.'

She had seen one in a local shop

and had tinkered with it

while Mummy was busy.

Quick calculation - time and money -

'An xylophone!

I'll do my best.


And Esther, what about you?

Any special gift that you'd like?'


'Excuse me - a WHAT!'

'A horse and carriage

that we can all sit in

And the horse will pull us

all around Bermuda -

up the seashore

and over the hills

and down Front Street-

just like the tourists.'


'Oh, Esther. Oh, Esther!'

And for a moment I floundered.

I would have given Earth and High Heaven

to be able to say 'What a splendid idea!'

But I couldn't.

I just couldn't.

And so - a real squelcher -

The words like sand in my mouth.

'But, Honey,

think how difficult it would be

to own a horse,

to care for it and feed it.

Where would we keep it?

etc. etc. etc.

And the carriage too,

storing and cleaning and polishing?'

etc. etc. etc.

I felt terrible.

How could I have asked such a stupid question!


She listened without comment.

And finally nodded, 'OK, then -

a skipping rope with sparkles inside.

You know what I mean?'

Which I didn't, but I found one

in some higgledy-piggledy store.


What really hurt most that day

was that I couldn't afford even

to take the family on a carriage ride

up the seashore and over the hills

and down Front Street

like the tourists.


Oh, the tourists!

A world unto themselves

with so much privilege - 

shopping in the pretty stores

and swimming in the sea -

sailing on yachts sleek as birds -

eating in restaurants with big windows

and riding in carriages

behind real horses all bedecked

in ribbons and bells -

laughing people - having fun -

all day - every day.

At four-years-old 

it was two worlds hard to explain

very hard to explain.


Perhaps - even yet -

we shall enjoy such a ride 

if horses and carriages

are still allowed 

And I live to be a hundred!




Cynthia Buell Thomas

August, 2018


◄ Not Beyond Reason

Good Old Plain Porridge ►


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Tapashree Roy

Sun 16th Sep 2018 15:18

Loved the story-telling. Thanks Cynthia for sharing!


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M.C. Newberry

Thu 23rd Aug 2018 10:51

A charming nostalgic "nose" into the past.
I had a bus conductor's outfit (with ticket punch!) for my
5th birthday but I have NO recollection whatever of ever
asking for it. Kids can have short memories about such things. But I still have the photo somewhere of me wearing it!

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Hannah Collins

Wed 22nd Aug 2018 20:08

Wonderful poem.
Really enjoyed.


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Cynthia Buell Thomas

Wed 22nd Aug 2018 15:51

😄 Just a memory that someone else might relate to. It has been a delight to write.

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