Ah To Be In Ireland! (a short story) Part Five
Ah To Be In Ireland! Part Five
Dermid entered their kitchen to sit by the turf fire in the open-hearth fireplace. It did not take him too long to find where the O'Neills now resided as news travels by the grapevine very effectively in old Ireland. Cathleen remembered Dermid well--he was a funny man when sober.
"Did yer brother yet fix his car with the wheel that flew off a few years back," Cathleen inquired.
"No Cathy, he hasn't done it yet. What a day it was when he was drivin' down the dirt lane thinkin' he had a flat tire and with the front wheel flown off a hahlf moile back. Why the sparks was shootin' off the ground like some sort of dragon with the axle hangin' loose."
"He musta had one too many on him that day," Seamus chuckled, "to think he had only a flat tire and not somethin' more serious."
"Aye, and that badly bent axle still sits in the barn."
"Dermid, are ya goin' ta bingo tonight in old Glenarm town?"
"Aye, Seamus. T'would be a foine toime we'd have the two of us. And we haven't been to McHugh's Pub fer a good three years since ya bin in Ameriky."
"Not tonight you ain't," Cathleen interrupted. "I got too many chores to do, and the kids wanta play carrds wid you since they ain't got no television."
Dermid couldn't believe his ears. This Cathleen was a changed woman.
"Will ya listen to me old flame Cathy Brigid, will ya? The States done ya no good, womahn!"
"She's a terror she is," Seamus added.
"Don't call me Brigid no more, Dermid! It's not respectable in New York, ya know."
"It was respectable enough when ya talked Seamus inta whiskin' ya off to the States! Don't ya remember Brigid's the patron saint of Ireland? But that's right, you wouldn't hear tell of stayin' in auld Ireland," Dermid said with a tone of bitterness.
"Don't call me Brigid no more, Dermid! Besides, Brigid is the patron wash-woman in the States--and that's all I would have been had I stayed here in Ireland and married the likes of you!"
"Cathy Brigid, yer back here ain't ya?"
"Stop callin' me that! I'm here only fer a fortnight or two."
"Will ya listen to me woife, Dermid. Ya'd think she was the grand duchess of all the world. Fortnight or two me foot!"
"Sounds like the States made yer woife ashamed of everythin' ta do wid Ireland."
Cathleen silently served a spread of wheaten bread, stew, biscuits, and strong dark tea as Patty and Maeve returned from town; they looked disgruntled and tired.
"Ireland is for the birds," Patty said.
"And how!" Maeve added with a sigh.
Seamus asked them what was wrong with good old Ireland only to be cut off by Cathleen saying that the country is no place for kids. They were probably dying of boredom.
"The TV at O' Brien's Hotel suddenly broke down during the Dublin horse show and they ain't even gona get it fixed till Christmas or so--can you imagine that, Christmas or so!" Patty whimpered.
"Yeah, but maybe it's just as well," Maeve complained. "Irish shows are stupid anyway. Only when they get American shows is television any good over here."
"You two children should stop complainin,'" Seamus warned, "and get out in them fields and turn some hay! It's plenty of hay we'll need fer the horses and cows this winterr."
The children were amazed by that piece of information. They had assumed they would be in Ireland only for the summer as their mother had promised back at the airport. Maeve sat down and nibbled at some stew and started whimpering.
"I wanna get back to school in New York."
"Where they call you immigrant," Seamus questioned.
"But daddy, I feel like an immigrant over here!"
"I'm afraid yer all Irish now. We're here to stay. Come on Dermid, finish yer stew and let's head fer town."
Later that evening, Dermid and Seamus entered a small town pub to drink some dark stout with a rich, creamy head right from the tap. Flute and piano music filled the air while some Irishmen, smoking wee stubs of cigarettes in the corner of their mouths, threw darts at a World War II dartboard. Dermid drew attention to himself by making a public toast:
"Mee gud gentlemen, let us welcome back home our bloody Yankee, Seamus O'Neill."
"Here's to our Yankee," they all shouted.
A stranger asked Seamus if there was any chance the States might nominate an Irish Catholic for President.
"Ah no, not at all. Kennedy would never maik it, never in this world."
"Aye but it would probably be yer mahn Nixon he'd be runnin' against, and who'd ever vote for the likes of him?
"Well if Kennedy ever gets elected, some bloody fool will shoot him or somethin.'"
Dermid took a long hard swallow of stout and asked Seamus if he'd ever return to the States.
Another book of interst for readers is Linda D. Almeida's Irish Immigrants in New York City, 1945-1995, 2001.
© 2011 Richard Francis Fleck