Though just a boy, I had kept a dry eye throughout this departure. Not so my grandfather Old Felix. Tears were coursing down the old man’s deeply-grooved cheeks.
I saw my father shaking hands with the little groups of men who had been waiting by the roadside – for just this – for two hours or more.
The scene reminded me of the time my father had fallen off the cart and had lain in bed paralysed for six weeks. I wondered if these were the same men who had watched and had waited then.
My father turned towards the bus and I followed, leaping over the rows of young potato plants.
As the decrepit old bus pulled away, with a grinding of gears and a billowing of exhaust smoke, I looked back through the rear window at the little house that gradually passed out of sight around the bend in the road.
Just before then I saw, for the last time the stalwart figure of my grandfather, standing alone in the middle of the potato garden where I had left him. His cap was still in his hand; his head was bowed.
And I wondered, for the last time too, who would dig the new potatoes, now that we were gone.
… Wolves on the prowl …