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Ah To Be In Ireland (a short story) Part Three
Ah To Be In Ireland! Part Three
Seamus wanted to silence his son immediately.
"Hush yer mouth boy--it was between you and me!"
"What's between you and Patty?" Cathleen asked.
"Nothin,' nothin' at all."
"How much you got saved, Seamie? How much?" she demanded.
"Twenty dollars since the first of this month."
"Twenty dollars won't get you to Idlewild Airport, you fool!"
"Twenty dollars times twelve times three will get us to Shannon."
"What ya mean?"
"I've been saving twenty dollars from the first of every month since we've been here. I've given up buying pipe tobacco, beer and not goin' to no shows."
Jimmy decided to break his silence. He had become intrigued with Seamus's ingenuity. Now he knew why he came over to his place to was TV after telling his wife he had gone to a show.
"You mean yer leavin' the good old U.S. of A? Why'dya come here in the foist place you crazy old loon?"
Ask Cathleen that," snapped Seamus.
"Alright, I'm askin.'"
"Whatya mean? I've already told you, Jimmy," Cathleen quipped. "Ireland ain't fit fer dogs! It's a hard life you lead over there fer two pound a week diggin' spuds or turnin' hay or plantin' barley or takin' pigs to the market."
Jimmy scratched his head and looked Seamus in the eyes.
Not Thrilling Work in New York
"So whatya doin' here--sweepin' floors, waxin' hallways, polishin' brass, fixin' stopped-up toilets for sixty bills a week?"
"Yes, but Seamie's a custodian and has some responsibility," Cathleen interjected. "Why everybody in the buildin' knows and respects him."
"Yes," Seamus mocked. "Now ya see, I've got status--the Kennedys done it before us, and now I've done it. I've changed from a middlin' poor potato farmer to a super-janitor where forty-two families all know and respect the mahn wid de broom. Even me woife on occasion makes some money on the side cleanin' rooms and toilets--though that's a big secret, ain't it Cathleen?"
Cathleen clammed up in embarassment. The Ceili music stopped as the record tripped around and around with a thump, thump, thump. Jimmy put in his two cents.
"Don't knock it man, I'd sday you done pretty good, but I gotta say I admire your saving money all this time!"
"There, you hear that Seamie> Now stop that talk of goin' back to Ireland and put the money you secretly saved into a new car or even a color TV set fer the kids."
Patty and Maeve jumped with joy over this new prospect.
"Oh please daddy," Maeve whimpered, "Please--I'd love to see Charlie Brown in color, oh please!"
Shouldn't They Go Back to Ireland?
Seamus ignored Maeve and continued his discussion with Jimmy.
"Just a whoile ago ya said all I was doin' was pushin' brooms, and now ya say I've done pretty good..."
"yeah, that ain't hard to follow. In Ireland, Cathleen said, you was earnin' two pounds a week doin' even dirtier work than here where yer earnin' sixty bills--which is more?
"Money ain't the measure, Jimmy."
"Awh, Irish, whatya come here for but the money! I'm gettin' tired of all dis, and if ya don't wanna watch the Yankees, I guess I'll go to my pad and watch 'em. Thanks for the grub. Be seein' yous around."
He left the room leaving Cathleen and Seamus staring at each other with a television commercial blasting any thoughts they had out of their minds.
Decision to Return to Ireland
That evening, after the children had watched their fill of TV and had gone to bed, Seamus decided to stay up late to talk things over with Cathleen. But she was in no mood for talking and left Seamus to himself telling him not to waste his time thinking stray thoughts. But thinking stray thoughts he did; he enjoyed being by himself, and jigged around the livingroom whistling the tune of "The Green Glens of Antrim" with tears in his eyes. Then it dawned on him to search the desk for his family visas and Irish passports. Finding them, he gleefully checked for the phone number of Aer Lingus hoping to get an agent still at the airport.
As he dialed, Cathleen peeked her head around the corner to see what her husband was up
An interesting book about the Irish in America is Elizabeth Raum's book, Irish Immigrants in America, 2008.
© 2011 Richard Francis Fleck