A Tibor Gergely Day

Operating on the likely questionable assumption that the exceedingly wet weather may indicate a lack of explosioning in front of my house, I dared come home while the crew out there is still hard at it. The open trench–which approaches the width of a small canyon rather than a mere crease in the pavement–has now progressed to the point that parked directly at my door (okay, on the other side of the pretty chain link fence erected on the curb) is a happy man in his dump truck, straight out of a Tibor Gergely illustration.  The truck’s the same green, almost the same vintage (and good old Tibor was illustrating donkey’s years before I was reading his great works) and the driver as squat and content-looking as Mr Happy Man.

And this isn’t the first time today that Mr Gergely’s views of the world have been reanimated before my very eyes. Needless to say, I’ve seen his tugboats on the harbour (along with a random and inappropriately un-Gergely submarine), as happens every day.  But today I also chanced onto the village where his jolly firefighters hang:  same architecture, same palette, and, with breath-taking oddness, no exterior detail (garden choices, window treatments, general curb appeal) seeming to date from a period beyond Tibor’s own flourishing.

I took a walk at lunch and wound up in this Gergely wonderland almost immediately and certainly without expectation: if you just turn where no cars go except to get there and no further, there you are.  Tibor probably would ken that readily.

Of course, it helped that the light quality today was that bright grey that can shine on warm, wet summer days between the actual cloud bursts. And that I was in what’s known as “old Dartmouth” rather than in anyone’s more urbanely slick neighbourhood.  And since the streets were narrow as well as deeply sloped, they aren’t the sort that developers grab up to rebuild in the new.

Who knew the land of Gergely was so close at hand?


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