Ah To Be In Ireland! (a short story) Part Seven: Finale
Ah To Be In Ireland! Part Seven
" Oh, go out for a ramble in the green glens of Antrim and watch them waterfalls for all the good it will do ya! Yer nothin' but a sentimental old Irishman! How can ya put yer family through all this just so's ya can live yer past life over again?" Cathleen implored.
"Livin' me past again? Yes, I suppose maybe that's me problem. Cathleen, maybe yer right about that."
"Ya know I'm right about it--you refusin' to answer yer boss's letter from New York offering you a raise in yer pay by ten dollars a week! Seventy dollars a week ain't good enough fer ya, is it? Ya'd rather dig potatoes fer five dollars a week--two pounds I should say--and get drunk like a bloody adolescent every night wid yer damn fool friend Dermid O'Reilly."
"Cathleen, Cathleen, ya almost married that damn fool named Dermid, didn't ya? Ireland is a place I love with me heart and soul. The mist of the mountains, the waterfalls lined with heather, the yarns we spin, the country cottages, the happiness and laughter, the whole way of livin'!"
"Awh, sush, ya sentimental fool! I don't mean I don't love ya--it's not that.
"Cathleen, plaise, plaise stop it!"
Seamus left the farmhouse without any supper and headed for the upper glens to get a view of things.
"Leave will ya," shouted Cathleen. "Sure leave and let yer daughter suffer with her bruised shoulder. Ya heartless mahn, ya!"
Meanwhile Dermid wandered down the lane and knocked on the door singing some Irish ditty.
"Awh go away will ya," Cathleen shouted.
Their Friend is Leaving for America
"That's just what I'm goin' ta doo--just that. I got me a job States-side in a place called Chicargo drivin' a taxi after they learn me the streets," Dermid said with a twinkle in his eye.
"Yer goin' to America? You of all people, goin' to America? You sure have changed, me good mahn!"
"I'm guaranteed a hundred dollars a week--do ye hearre that, a hundred a week. Me cousin Tony got me set up. Things should be good, and did you hear that the Americans elected an Irish Catholic fer President?"
"Well now," Cathleen said with a cheer expression. "America ain't as bad as you made her out to be, is it?
"Shure it's a great place from New York to Chicargo!"
Seamus came back from his high ramble in the green glens of Antrim to have it out with his wife when he noticed Dermid standing in his kitchen.
"Dermid old mahn, how be ye doin' today?"
"It's States-side fer me, mahn!"
"States-side me foot. If it were up to me naggin' woife now..."
"I'm not jokin' ya none. I'm headed fer Chicargo to cousin Tony's next week. Tony got me a job wid th' Yellow Cab Company."
Seamus appeared thunderstruck and nervously glanced at his wife and then back at Dermid.
"Laivin' auld Ireland is it? Are ya out of yer head, mahn?"
Cathleen saw her advantage and spoke with a gleam in her eye.
"Yer the one that's cookoo. By the way, have ya paid our rent fer the farm yet? Our landlord wants his eight pounds. Ya got that much, rich mahn?"
"No, I ain't got eight pounds. AlI got from sellin' potatoes and milk and whatnot is three pounds six."
Wife Convinces Seamus to Return to America
"Ireland, dear old Ireland," Cathleen chanted mockingly. "Shure it's the loveliest spot on 'arth. Just because we've come from America, our landlord thinks we is rich and charges us eight pound a month!"
"Alright, alright, that does it," Seamus said mournfully. "I've had it up to herrre. I'll take me bloody job back and borrow passage money from me old boss. We'll laive ahfter Christmas and enter the kids in their old school at mid year--shure they can't enter now in November."
"Have ya heard that Jack Kennedy is our new President!," Cathleen said feeling pity for her husband. "Things, won't be so bad back in the States. Thank God yer talkin' sense, " Cathleen said with a much more tender tone in her voice. Sure Dermid will be States-side now as well, and it musn't be too far between New York and Chicargo--I think it's only Pennsylvania that separates them."
"Well, Cathleen, I guess you was right all along, but I had to get the past outa me system...Dermid, Dermid, why are ya laivin' so fast? Stay a minute."
"I'll be on me way, Seamus, on me way."
The rest of November and December sped by like one short day. They got their sea-passage money from his boss to leave Ireland in January from Galway by steamer. Ever since they knew they were returning to New York, Patty and Maeve remained beside themselves. They skipped off to school in the mornings and did a bit of homework and played cards in the evening.
January came too soon. Seamus felt miserable up on the deck of the ship--he knew he probably would never see Ireland again.He consoled himself with the fact that Jack Kennedy had become President. Even Cathleen seemed sad, feeling a bit guilty over forcing her hand with Seamus. The last Irish hills disappeared like mist into the sea as the O'Neills steamed toward North America.
A Note from the author:
I wrote this story as a stage play back in the early 1980s and even gave it a public reading with ceili music in the background at the University of Wyoming. This story line is based on a real life experience of Irish relatives . All names are purely fictional. It is being considered for production as a stage play by several small theatres in Ireland and U.S.
For the impact of JFK on Ireland and the Irish, see Ryan Tubridy's book, JFK in Ireland, 2010.
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