But it wasn’t all bad. There was one aspect of our stay in La Serenissima that I thoroughly enjoyed then and often miss nowadays. Every morning I would walk the few steps from the front door of our little apartment and down a narrow calle to the edge of the Grand Canal, there to spend a while watching the to-ing and fro-ing of the steady stream of watercraft. And for a brief time in that beautiful city I was at peace with the world and it with me.
It was during one such morning sojourn, as I followed the progress of a vaporetto (the iconic waterbus of Venice) making its way up the canal, that I thought of Cherry, my step-grandfather, who worked on the ferryboats which once plied the River Forth back in Scotland. I remembered the story of the incident in the 1950’s, when Cherry displayed immense courage during a near-fatal ferryboat accident, becoming a local hero.
Aside from countless tedious business reports, I hadn’t written a word of anything for the best part of twenty years. But suddenly I wanted to write Cherry’s story. And suddenly I had the opening sentence of the story: Cherry was a big man, yet he didn’t disturb Annie as he eased out of the bed.
I returned to our apartment and wrote the rest of The Hero that day. In the coming weeks and months, other stories flowed from me – stories about my family, my hometown and growing up in the 1950’s and 1960’s. They were all later brought together and published as a collection called Ferry Tales.
If you’ve been following my posts here on McVoices, you should know the drill by now. Ferry Tales is FREE to download from Amazon all this weekend. Fill your boots, just as Cherry did on that fateful day of the ferryboat accident.