Are We Really Who We Portray?
"I hear that the travellers have moved into town. You know, the house on the hill, yeah they moved in yesterday"
Rumaging in her hand bag for the black leather purse to pay for her groceries, the woman wearing the white scarf on her head continued.
"I personally think it is a matter for the council to home those type of people, they shouldn't be allowed to live in the community with good living people such as ourselves. We can't rest in our beds for the thought of what they could do to us."
The woman was getting an audience now, so encouraged, she went on.
"That lovely house owned by Patrick Miller, yes the one on the top of the hill, will be turned into a junk yard of old steel gates and the very copper pipes at the back of our homes will be stolen whilst we sleep in our beds. That young boy will go to the school that our children attend and they will come home with nits in their hair, It doesn't bear thinking about".
With a shrug to her neighbours, the woman thanked the shop assistant for her groceries and proceeded to walk out into the street, banging the door behind her.
"Prejudiced, no not Mrs Tully, she is a good Christian woman like the rest of us," the store owner said in Mrs Tully's defence.
The shop keeper carried on to say,
"We all have a responsibility to each other to protect our neighbourhood, and when people like that move in we should all stand together, proud and in the knowledge that our community is a good one. We must hold a community meeting and seek advice from our local counsellor. I will be sure to let you know the date."
Now, I was amused by what I had just heard, but not in the slightest way surprised. I took my turn in the queue to pay for my groceries, smiled and spoke pleasantly to the neighbours, my neighbours, my new neighbours before gathering my goods together and leaving the premises.
Walking home to the house on the hill, I didn't dwell on what I had heard, but in fact, felt sorry for the insecurity that this community must feel. How sad to think that one family, travellers or otherwise could pose such a threat.
I had never really considered our position before, but laughed out loud at the thought that my family could be the topic of a community meeting.
I could see where they were coming from. My husband drove a skip lorry and had long hair in a pony tail and a beard which did nothing for his persona. My dad loved nothing more than to ramble the roadside picking blackberries for me to make his favourite crumble and apple and blackberry jam. My son loved the thought of being a farmer when he grew up, and was frequently seen herding our lurcher dogs along the road with a stick.
We owned two spotted horses, Appaloosas, which grazed the field beside us, and gasp..... I drove a Toyota Hi-ace van.
The more I was inclined to recall the discussion I had heard the more comical it became. Yes, my husband really did look the part of a gypsy, but at least he was employed; the spotted horses in the field, mmm I could see the sense of that. But how wrong could people be. The Hi-ace van was used to carry bales of hay and hard feed for the horses. My dad was a retired manual worker for Leyland Motors and as for me, I was the advertising manager for a group of magazines published in Dublin.
What crime had we committed? We loved the countryside, respected our privacy and nurtured our family. We were good honest hard working people who loved and respected the attributes of the Appaloosa horse. In fact we were just the same as our neighbours, good Christian people. And I so looked forward to attending our first local community meeting. Ha, what a farce!