Ah To Be In Ireland (a short story) Part Two
Ah To Be In Ireland Part Two (Fiction)
Jimmy Schwartz, the auto mechanic, peeked his head in as Seamus opened the door.
"Hi, Irish, what's cookin'?"
Seamus put on a heavy Irish accent pretending he was Barry Fitzgerald.
Seamus Invites Neighbor to Dinner
"Yer just in toime fer a wee sup a tay and a noice spread of tomatoes, cheese and ham."
"Awh Christ man, that sounds pretty gud to me; I was jist headed fur Sam's Cafeteria down the street."
"Sam's cafeteria, indeed! Don't bother yerself, me good mahn! Sit down to some wholesome Irish food Irish food--do ya smell the fresh loaf of wheaten bread Cathleen is after baking?"
"Sam's serves wholesome food too, man! They serve good American food!"
Cathleen didn't want the subject of being an immigrant to come up again.
"Seamie, what the hell are you talking--the stuff we eat here is just as good as back home. The stuff they serve in Ireland sometimes ain't fit fer a pig!"
"What do ya mean, womahn? Irish wheaten bread and Kerry gold butter is fit fer pigs? Are ya crazy, womahn? Are ye forgettin' ye spent twenty-seven years of yer life in Ireland?"
"Twenty-seven years too long!"
"Wait a minute," Jimmy shouted. "I didn't wanta start no argument wid yous. Hey kids, how are ya doin'--watchin a good show are yous?"
A television commercial blared out, muffling the children's answer.
"Swell kids, Irish, swell kids."
Children Remained Glued to the TV
Cathleen approached the living room asking Jimmy to sit down to supper. The two men came to the table, but Patty and Maeve remained glued to the television set and munched on some candy bars. The television was beginning to annoy Seamus.
"Cathleen, put on some Ceili music, would yee?"
"Oh come off it mahn, will ya once and fer all forget Ireland! Try to be a normal American husband! Yous can turn yer chairs and watch television while you eat."
Jimmy felt quite uncomfortable in the midst of this tense situation.
"Awh, it ain't no cause fer gettin' upset--play some of that music. I'd like ta hear it."
Seamus Puts on Some Old-Fashion Irish Music
Seamus, acting like Barry Fitzgerald (in The Quiet Man), danced away from the table and turned on the record player. Lively music of accordians, fiddles, and a saxiphone mingled with Hollywood canned laughter on the TV. Seamus jigged back to his chair with tears in his eyes. Cathleen tried not to notice it.
"It's touchin' music--beats woikin' wid cars," Jimmy volunteered.
"It's just a bit of a cold I have; me eyes is waterin' a little, that's all."
"I've a crazy husband, Jimmy, plum crazy out of his head."
"Why do ya say that?--because I loved me homeland?"
Jimmy tried to head off another big argument as he gulped down his ham sandwich.
"My uncle comes from Poland, but he don't miss it none. Says he's glad to be in the good old U.S. of A."
An Argument Ensues
"There, you hear that now, Seamie! Don't shame us," Cathleen pleaded. "Yer a custodian, a salaried mahn, with kids goin' to school and this building you take care of gives us free rent! What would ya have in Ireland?"
"Hey, Irish, get them kids away from the cartoons--there's a ball game on now."
"Would I ever love to see the All-Ireland gaelic football finals!"
"Gaelic football, hell! The New York Yankees is on--they ain't no hicks from the sticks!" Jimmy shouted back.
Seamus steamed with anger like some IRA rebel in Belfast.
"I've been polite all these years. I've been takin' it on the chin ever since I come to this country, but me gorie, I've had it. I don't give a bloody damn fer yer Yankees and Sam's Cafeteria and big cars needin' oil and all that stuff. Me heart is in the green glens of Antrim, and that's all I have to say. I wanna go home and tomorrow's none too soon!"
Jimmy was dumbfounded at this outrage and sat in silence as the whole family burst into an argument. Cathleen screamed in a squeaky high pitched voice.
"Tomorrow yer goin' back are yee? Ha! With what?--you ain't got a dime saved."
"That's what you think!" Patty shouted from the livingroom.
"That's what I know," Cathleen shouted back.
Mother and son went full tilt.
"Oh yeah? I know different, mom."
"Whatya mean, boy?"
Seamus knew his secret was about to be revealed and frowned at his son.
Readers might wish to supplement this story with a book by William D. Griffin, The Irish Americans: The Immigrant Experience, 2001.