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Bimbo the Clown
“What about me, Mum? I was the first kid you made, wasn’t I?” Bimbo’s eyes look even smilier than usual. ”And you loved me SO much you made a twin of me, didn’t you Mum?” and he snuggles even tighter under my chin.
Sweet little guy. He always makes me smile. Bimbo and Gran and Grandpa are to blame for all the rescues that followed. Knitting the hundreds of stitches of countless foreign-looking pieces, stitching them together, stuffing them, and then sewing these fat little shapes in yet another exact sequence creates a deep bond with your ‘baby’. Impossible to imagine anyone, anywhere could have loved but then discarded and deserted these treasures.
Bimbo is a TWIN. His brother lives a six-hour drive away in the city; his name is Glen, and I made him for a special little boy, Liam, when he was born. I came to love him so much, a few years later I made another for myself and called him Bimbo. Soon after I’d finished Bimbo and let him take pride of place on our bed, Liam came to visit with his Mummy.
Liam was fine at first, demolishing cakes and biscuits and his drink of milk. But he became bored with our chatter and went exploring our house. When he returned, he had Bimbo clutched to his chest, eyes bright with excitement. “Look Mummy – it’s Glen. He got here before us.” Liam’s Mummy’s eyes widened. She hadn’t known about my Bimbo.
“He’s SO clever, Mummy,” Liam continued. “I thought I left him behind, but he’s here.”
Liam’s Mummy and I couldn’t keep our faces serious. When home-time came, it took much distraction (with lollies, as I remember) to coax Liam into the car without his Glen. He nodded off on the journey home—and when he awoke dashed to his room first thing, finding yet another miracle waiting.
“Mummy… look! Look! Glen beat us home!” And there he was, sitting on Liam’s bed, waiting for another cuddle. Bimbo had been such a good sport that day, never once letting Liam know who he really was. Always true to his own sweet nature, Bimbo enjoyed the extra hugs and kisses and never complained once.
But this is here and now, and Bimbo is excited with today’s attention and eager to hear another story about himself.
“What about the time I got badly mauled, Mum? Tell that one again,” and Bimbo wriggles even more tightly against me as I give in and continue.
One night—or maybe several—Bimbo was attacked and mauled as he sat on a shelf with the other Knitty Gritty Kids, napping through the night. Ferocious, greedy moths chewed into him under cover of darkness. I stop my story to say, “If only you’d cried out. You could have avoided so much of the damage—and all that pain!”
Bimbo’s smile droops. “I know. I just buttoned my lip and toughed it out. Was that wrong, Mum?”
I shake my head and hug my silent sufferer even tighter as we remember how I didn’t discover his injuries until I came to take his photo. Whilst arranging him to capture his best angle, my heart missed several beats as I caught sight of his terrible wounds. From the front, the worst had been hidden from view.
“Where was I hurt, Mum? I can’t hardly see any scars.” Bimbo twists and strains every which way.
“Well-ll… several spots on your arms and back and leg required only small stitches, but the hands? Phew… serious surgery.” Can’t help a shudder as once again I witness the damage to his poor little feet. “TOTAL reconstruction of the left, and partial of the right. How thankful I felt to have been your creator, so I could be your Surgeon, the sole member of your operating team.” And I squeeze him tightly once again and smooth the frown from his precious forehead.
Brave Bimbo came through his lengthy, tricky surgery in style, and after the shortest time, made a full recovery. Once again, his amazing bravery sees him refusing to discuss any part of his suffering – or feel sorry for himself – or let anyone else have bad thoughts about his horrendous experience, either.
“Although you love to hear the story, over and over, don’t you, little man?” And Bimbo grins and blushes a little. Mostly, he has put it all in the past where the worst nightmares belong. Why he those munching monsters chose him, and none of the other Knitty Gritty Kids, I can’t say. Bimbo IS deliciously handsome—but edible? Hmm… I don’t think so.
Imagine starting life as a twin but sort of not, then being a meal for mothies. It’s a worry – but someone had to grin and bear it… AND survive. And that someone was our beloved Bimbo, the bravest little clown we’ve known.
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Back in ‘reality’ land, I have to lay the book down for a moment to blow my nose. That’s the one thing about reading aloud in bed – nose-blowing takes two hands. Itches and sniffs are OK, I can manage even the odd sneeze with one hand. Jonjon takes advantage of the moment to turn back to the picture of Bimbo. He wants to find the mothie attack wounds.
“Here!” He points triumphantly to Bimbo’s small left hand, and sure enough when we look closely at the picture, some raggy looking threads are sticking out. “And HERE!!” And Jonjon gasps, and so do I as we search for what Granny described as the worst of the attack. We see only the front view, but even that is grim. There were several gaping holes and Granny says they munched out most of the back of his feet.
I whisper, “Ohh no. This was dreadful. This must have been where Granny had to amputate and create a whole new foot… AND shoe.” We’re both speechless, near tears… for a few moments, anyway. And although we have no particular knowledge of these things, we spend some moments talking about surgery in general. I’m not sure how to say the ‘anna’ word that means you get ‘knocked out’, so I just tell Jonjon you get ‘put to sleep’ for a bit and you can’t feel anything. We spend a few minutes wondering if you dream when you’re having an operation. Mum might know. She’s had babies and things. Just need to work out a way to bring that subject into an ordinary kind of conversation. I’ll have to think on that.
Despite his sympathy, Jonjon is eager to find out who’s next. I take a quick peek and am delighted to tell him it’s the tallest and most impressive member of the family. And I already know the special person Granny named him after. That’s a lovely story of its own.
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