An Unknown Tongue

As my brother, sister and I
played on our driveway one
Saturday morning Mum house
worked inside while Dad
drank with his mates in the
1950’s smoke laden packed
crush at the local pub.

As we played, a Chinese man
approached saying “Stoo ? Stoo ?”
Our Dad worked with Chinese
market gardeners and their wares.

Yet we could not make out
the sounds or words in his
heavily accented speech except
“Stoo ?  Stoo ?”  Our Dad
was called Stuart, he wanted
to see him. All we could do
was shake our heads,
say no, he had gone out.

Later Dad said he mostly
understood the strong Chinese
accents, though a few were
very hard to comprehend.

Years later as I connected
calls at the emergency services
centre I still could not discern
the sounds, the words, spoken
in that unfamiliar tongue.

I connected their calls to the
police for their assistance.

An Unknown Tongue