Up the Hammers!

“Mind the gap Grandad.” My underground announcer’s voice is a little rusty despite holding my nose so tightly my glasses steam up when I speak. I hold my Grandad firmly as we take our exaggerated step from the carriage. This is the kind of thing that would send him sprawling and I didn’t want to remember today for picking him up off the tarmac. He was steady though and we walk together towards the entrance. Standing there we contemplate our journey ahead to Upton Park. Every home game it’s the same, not forgetting to stop at the butchers for our packet of pork scratchings.

“Ready Grandad? We’ll walk it slowly so that you can take it all in.”

I swap hands in clutching him, my palm is sweating and we start our mini pilgrimage to the place which was our meeting point if we got separated the last time we came.

As we stand at the foot of the Bobby Moore statue, I feel my Grandad’s smile. I tighten the claret and blue woollen scarf around him, just like he had adjusted the one Gran had knitted for me thirty years earlier.

“Here we are Grandad. I told you we would make it again and Bobby would be waiting for you to join him.”

I unscrew the cap of the urn and slowly hold it aloft with both hands. Closing my eyes, Grandad comes alive. I tip the urn to let him free and without hesitation he rushes out, taking off with the circling winds, weaving in and out and disappearing to the skies. I wrap the scarf around my hands and give it a kiss.

“Up the Hammers, Grandad!”

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