“I Ordered Mermaids” | Memories of R. S. Thomas

Out the window where R.S. Thomas looked for mermaids

View of the Dyfi estuary from the Maybank Hotel where R.S. Thomas looked for his mermaids.

It was a “rave-a-little” morning in Aberdyfi, Wales, when R. S. Thomas joined ten of us from America for breakfast.

“Now, let’s rave a little” was my father’s rejoinder whenever my mother burbled, say about the view from a cabin overlooking the rim of the Grand Canyon. My dad wasn’t partial to what Robert Frost terms “sunset raving,” but we who were waiting to sit down to breakfast with Thomas gave into it that day.

The view from the dining room’s bow window was like a painting set before us. Rich blue sky. A scattering of white sails. Beams of sunlight transfiguring the waves of the Dyfi estuary into a painting by an Impressionist artist.

Patti, talking with Thomas at the window, gave him credit for arranging a camera-perfect day. “But” he responded, “I ordered mermaids.”

Until that moment, I never thought of Thomas as a mermaids-ordering guy.

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