Returning from work on Tuesday last I spotted Jeremiah heading homewards with three heavy bags of rations. I turned the car and offered him a lift up home. Jerry is a long-time buddy of my Dad’s who used to help him on his farm a long time ago. Naturally Jerry was asking after Dad and said he’d love to go to see him so I offered to take him down. Hence our date.
I was a bit worried that Jerry would find it hard seeing Dad in a nursing home and unable to talk properly but I needn’t have. The two of them were so pleased to see each other. The lovely thing was the way Jerry was with Daddy. He did not talk down to him but gave him his complete attention. It was total man-to-man respect. Afterwards Jerry said he thought Dad looked great, much better than he’d expected. He also praised the nursing home saying that it seemed like a lovely, homely place. That’s always good for a daughter to hear.
We called at Aunt Bella’s pub where Jeremiah had a Cream of the Barley (Bella remembered his tipple) and a Guinness. I had a cup of tea with Aunt Em in the kitchen. It was a good outing. Jerry is great crack and told me some stories from the old days that I’d never heard.
This is one about my Granny. Jerry said Granny used to have great bantering sessions with a Protestant man who lived near the Creamery. As Jerry put it this boy was a great one for the Orange. Every Twelfth of July he’d put a Union Jack up at the Creamery but this particular year some skitters pulled it down on him. The next time he was in Granny’s pub he asked her if she knew anything about it and of course she said she didn’t know a thing. So he told her he was going to sicken them and get the flag painted on to the road. Granny said, “That’s great. We’ll be able to trample over it when we’re going to the chapel.”
Here’s another story from the old days. My father’s Uncle James was a medical student in Dublin when the great flu epidemic broke out. He was working in a hospital, caught the flu and died from it. All his effects were sent home to his parents and they included a genuine skeleton, which was part of a medical student’s kit at the time. For years this skeleton was stored in a box in the attic of the pub. Later it was moved out to one of the sheds. As children I remember us having great searches for it but all we ever found was the skull. It was pierced by a big hook and hinged at the jaw with wire. Now this is the bit that is hearsay but it’s a good story anyway. The ‘bare bones’ of it are true anyway.
Aunt B didn’t like this skeleton being around so she asked her son to bury it in the garden. But he only put it in a shallow grave. Later it was dug up by a neighbour’s dog who proudly took a human femur back to its owner. She, naturally, phoned the police – cue murder investigation. As I say it is hearsay. All I know is that as a family we prefer to keep our skeletons in the cupboard – except for me, of course.