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Party Piece

Updated on February 14, 2012
Source

Party Time

When I was a young man growing up in Ireland  I would bring friends back to the house to celebrate a birthday or just celebrate. We would clear out the sitting room of all furniture and put cushions all around the room for people to sit down on.

My friends and I would sit in that sitting room singing along to music people made on their guitars and the piano we had in the hallway. Everyone had their own party piece and mine was The Dutchman sung by Liam Clancy. As soon as someone finished singing or playing, the chanting would start for the next person to start and that is how it went all night long. What fun we had and it brought us all so close together.

I loved the song The Dutchman and to this day the words of that song always put a lump in my throat.

As I grew older I continued this old Irish tradition and whenever friends came around I used to sing this song and my children who saw this also continue the tradition and were more than happy to join in and even sing their own songs.

I feel so proud when I see them stand up and sing with such confidence when they now participate in musicals and shows put on by the local musical and drama group Inspirations here in Peel. I feel we have instilled a little bit of the old country in their hearts and it warms my heart.

I haven't sung this song for along time now as we no longer live in Ireland and tend to keep to ourselves. My son recently posted the video of Liam Clancy singing the song on my Facebook wall and I remembered those old times and decided to write this hub as a birthday present for my wife.

I have included here a short description of what the song is all about. This is my description and not an account that the writer of the song might even go along with. This song is about love and the older I get the more it brings tears to my eyes every time I hear it.

I hope you like it.


The Dutchman

He is old now and finds he spends more and more time day dreaming. He wonders if sometimes the people and events he remembers are but figments of his now very active imagination. He sometimes questions himself and looks to his wife to check. She knows that he is finding it difficult to remember things and she plays along with him and she is relieved when she sees that he accepts her validation of his sanity.


She has remained loyal to him throughout. She loves him. She remembers the golden mornings when they once sat together in the kitchen having breakfast. Laughing, joking and making plans for the day ahead. She now brings him breakfast in bed and he quietly eats as he stares out the window. His childlike eyes make her wish they had children. She tries to imagine what that would have been like as she speaks to him the way a mother would to her child.


They don't have much but what they do have they appreciate. Nothing is thrown out. Everything is mended and repaired until it fades away. He can still walk but only just. She holds him up as they trudge through streets they once skipped through. Every crack in the pavement is a wall to scale and the streets have now become an obstacle course. She leaves him sitting in his favourite bench by the canal while she goes to buy their meagre groceries. He once captained a barge but that seems like along time ago. He sometimes waves to friends long gone and smiles when the captain waves back. He feels safe when she returns and wants to go home. He calls her name when he imagines she has left him again and she tells him that he is safe and she is here right by his side.


The winter is the worst for them both. They try to conserve the limited fuel they can afford to buy, so they wrap up and wear more layers of clothing. The kitchen is the only room in the house with a fire so they spend most of their time there. He daydreams under her watchful eye and she tends to the things she has to do. She reads and looks up when he calls her name. She imagines he is with her somewhere in time loving her the way he once did. She touches him softly, kisses him and keeps him warm by adding some whisky to his tea. He cuddles into her now the way she used to do and she blows out the candle as soon as she feels him leave her for his dream world. She knows that one day he won't wake up and neither will she, so for the time they have left, they have each other and she keeps their memories safely tucked away in her heart.


I love you Maro

I dedicate this hub to my wife Mary who has stuck with me through thick and thin.

I don't tell her often enough how much I love her .

I have never been much for presents or flowers and the like but I have found ways to let her know how important she is to me. This is one of them.

This hub is my way of telling my wife how much I love her and how grateful I am for her. She is my "Margaret" and she has held me up many a time as the streets of this life have tried to trip me up.


The Dutchman

Comments

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    • Spirit Whisperer profile imageAUTHOR

      Xavier Nathan 

      6 years ago from Isle of Man

      Thank you Gemma. You know I'm an auld softie and wanted to give Mary something I made myself and coming from the heart.

    • profile image

      Gemma 

      6 years ago

      Ah! Xav, thats so lovely,so thoughtful, well done my friend.xx

    • Spirit Whisperer profile imageAUTHOR

      Xavier Nathan 

      7 years ago from Isle of Man

      I think you too are a bit of a softie! Nothing wrong with that Sally. Thank you for visiting and leaving such a thoughtful comment.

    • Truckstop Sally profile image

      Truckstop Sally 

      7 years ago

      What a wonderful tribute to your wife AND to you! I love your last line in the song's summary: so for the time they have left, they have each other and she keeps their memories safely tucked away in her heart.

      Beautiful!

    • Spirit Whisperer profile imageAUTHOR

      Xavier Nathan 

      7 years ago from Isle of Man

      Thank you shygirl2 for your comment and I appreciate your support.

    • profile image

      shygirl2 

      7 years ago

      It sounds so great the way you celebrate...another birthday. :D The song is cool too! Loved this hub. Marked up and awesome!

    • Spirit Whisperer profile imageAUTHOR

      Xavier Nathan 

      7 years ago from Isle of Man

      Thank you sweetie1 for reading and commenting. He is pretty well known in Ireland and as kids we would listen to this kind of music as well as the normal pop stuff.

    • sweetie1 profile image

      sweetie1 

      7 years ago from India

      Hi sprit whisperer,

      Nice hub,,, i have never heard about this guy before and i just heard him for first time and i must say i like it

    • Spirit Whisperer profile imageAUTHOR

      Xavier Nathan 

      7 years ago from Isle of Man

      Yes, Ashantina it was my goal to become the most unpopular male on HubPages. HaHa You should see the hate mail I am receiving as a result of the pressure women are placing on their partners as a result of this hub. I have raised the bar to a new level so get bf to step up to the plate and do what's right by you! LOL

    • Ashantina profile image

      Ashantina 

      7 years ago

      aaahh... what a sweet loving thoughtful touch for your wifes birthday. Im gonna show this to bf to get his butt in gear!!!! :)

    • Spirit Whisperer profile imageAUTHOR

      Xavier Nathan 

      7 years ago from Isle of Man

      Safe Harbour yes, I'm a big auld softie and you are a biffo! HaHa

      I have now raised the bar for the General!

    • Safe Harbour profile image

      Safe Harbour 

      7 years ago from Co.Waterford, Ireland

      Absolutley beautiful piece, what a wonderful show of love for your beloved. She is a lucky woman and you are a lucky man, ah ya big ould softie

    • Spirit Whisperer profile imageAUTHOR

      Xavier Nathan 

      7 years ago from Isle of Man

      Yes, RealHousewife she was touched. It is always the thought that counts. Yes says thanks for your birthday greetings although it not until May. I have always been a bit of kid in this regard in that I could never wait to give a present when I had made it. I'll have to think of something else now to give her on the day. Have a good day and thank you for stopping by.

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 

      7 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      So awesome! I'm sure your wife loves her birthday gift - thanks for letting us enjoy it too SW. Tell the special lady I hope she has a wonderful birthday! This is sure to be just the perfect thing:)

    • Spirit Whisperer profile imageAUTHOR

      Xavier Nathan 

      7 years ago from Isle of Man

      Thank you both vietnamvet68 and diogenes for your comment. Much appreciated.

    • profile image

      diogenese 

      7 years ago

      I enjoyed the music and your memories...Bob

    • vietnamvet68 profile image

      vietnamvet68 

      7 years ago from New York State

      A beautiful hub my friend and I bet your wife loves it. I like the Dutchman song also, very nice.

      God Bless

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