We received a number of short stories from Bernard Johnson, who is involved with Skerries and Balbriggans Mens Sheds, he also is a member of Ardgillan Writers Group since last October. They meet Sat mornings, 10.30 to 12 noon.
We have published the first of these "The Yank Visits Ireland" and should the response be good we can publish more... Let us know what you think.
"The Yank Visits Ireland"
I was visiting relations down in Co .Limerick, and fancied a walk one evening. I walked down the passage from the house to the roadside in the rural area of Ballinger, between Ballylanders and Knocklong. The sun was descending in the West, and its shadows were streaming across the meadows, and through the trees and hedgerows .It was a calm pleasant evening and occasional traffic rumbled along the highway bearing late commuters home for their dinner after a day’s work.
To my right I spotted Dinny, the next door neighbour, scrutinising his car. The bonnet was up, exposing the engine compartment of a 15yr old Opel Astra.
‘Are you in trouble, Dinny.’ I expressed a casual remark more the means of an introduction, than a knowledgeable offer of assistance.
‘Ah sure, the anti-freeze is leaking someplace, and I just can’t figure out where the cause of it is. I’ll probably give Hinchys a call in the morning. They’ll probably send a lad out to fix it, or tow it in for repair Dinny remarked.
‘A grand evening’ says I. ‘Ah sure, God is good when the Sun shines down upon us from Heaven. We forget the bad evenings with the wind and d’rain.’ Said Dinny.
We bantered on about Worldly things. Hurling, the cost of diesel, quality of spuds, Boston and Berlin.
Then suddenly we both became aware of an approaching car coming down the road at a fair pace, slowing, and then pulling in just below us to the hard shoulder. I could spot a 151-D registration, and the discreet sign ‘diesel’ stuck on the outside fuel cap. Obviously a hired car, maybe out of Hertz, Dublin Airport. The car, a black V.W Golf, swung around in a full circle, and pulled up alongside us .The driver’s window rolled down.
‘Hey you guys. Any of you know a Brid Foley’s pub about Glenbrohane ‘, barked the driver.
Immediately I became aware of three things. The 30 something driver wore Ray Ban sunglasses, a Ralph Lauran sports shirt. He was direct in his enquiry, and spoke in an unmistakable New York accent.
I stepped back, and allowed Denny to engage with the tourist. Dinny was a helpful chap and quite accommodating, in his own indirect manner.
‘Well now, you’re not that far from that place from where you are now. But could be kind-a difficult if you got lost or confused. You see, you would take the very next turn to the right, and go up the hill until you pass a graveyard. Then you would go down a hill, sure you’d have to, there’s no other way, then you would meet a cross. Now, there’s a kind-a staggered junction, but you keep straight on until you reach the spout gate, close by the ‘T’ junction. Keep your wits about you, as there’s all manner of tractors and trailers flying past on account of the silage. You take a hard right, up the hill towards the Church, then keep an eye out for the Cross of the Tree, where the road takes a fierce dip down past the first pub, which is closed this last six years. Slow down at the second bend, as Foley’s shop and pub is on the right .But I tell you now , you wouldn’t get a sinner there until after 10 pm tonight, on account of the silage
Mr. Ray Ban looked at Dinny long and hard, then paused, just slightly. ‘Thank you kindly Sir, I’m obliged. I reckon I spoke to the right guy when I pulled over. You know I haven’t stopped since I got the Red Eye to Dublin, out of JFK last night. This cute little gear shift took me down here in 3 hrs, though getting out of Dublin was a pain in the Ass. Guess I’m glad to be home to check out my ancestors’.
But before Dinny took the opportunity to exploit the conversation, with true country diligence of Ray Bans lineage, since now his curiosity became aroused, the black Golf took off in sudden acceleration and road dust.
Danny looked at me, and shrugged. ‘D’you know now, Brid Foley is married and has a grown up family. But thirty odd years ago, she had a bust up with a boyfriend and took herself to America for a year. Maybe, or perhaps, one of her chickens has come home to roost.
The sun sank low in the West through the trees and hedgerows as I started to walk along the road. The traffic was more infrequent now. The countryside was peaceful, except for the distant sound a distant tractor, working the silage, up the hill towards Glenbrohane.