Posted by: Peadar Ban | September 17, 2013

Don’t Forget the Wash Cloth or You’ll Have to Go to Confession When You Get Home



An Irish Traffic Control Officer on Patrol

The place is pretty quiet finally.  Only a few cars remain in the parking lot.  The crowds of local folks wandering around with cameras and kids, the young boys dashing in and out of the muscle cars, wild cars, old cars and new cars have all gone except for a few families finishing their drinks in the lobby; pots of tea, orange crushes and pints of Guinness, shandys for the young girls and wine for the older ones.  I look out the window and see where Darth Vader stood surrounded by autograph hounds and parents taking photos of His Darthness with their little ones.  The pretty ladies in the skimpy outfits and thigh high boots are gone, too.  And, I wonder if the knots of teen-aged boys are walking home now inspired to one thing or another they wouldn’t want their Ma to know.  The final car, some low slung viciously black Italian thing with two of those pretty ladies in it, roars by headed south after the rest of them.  South for God knows where, next, while I thank God to see the last of them all.  The only thing they meant for me was a hard time, a slow leaving and more noise than someone my age with four hours sleep in the last thirty or so needed just about now.

Welcome to Ireland in the Twenty First Century….

The Beginning

We have the use of a little “townhouse” in Ireland for one week every two years.  It’s in a place called Faha, in Kerry a few miles outside Killarney with a lovely view of the mountains and the Gap of Dunloe off in the distance to the southeast.  It is about all of Ireland I’ll ever own.  Is trua mor!

When we returned to Texas from our first trip to Ireland in 1976, Sheila, may she rest in peace, came upon me one afternoon in the dining room.  I had papers spread about in front of me on the table, beside me on the floor; deeds, bank account passbooks, insurance policies and such.  “What are you doing,” she asked in her best inquiring and suspicious voice.  Some skullduggery was being planned I am sure she figured.  “Oh,” I answered innocently, “nothing much.  I’m looking through all of this stuff to see how much money we can get for the house, how much is in my pension account, the bank.  Things like that.”  “Why?”  Her tone grew a little more brusque, demanding, and I remember being just a little ascared of this tiny woman; I a foot taller and at least a hundred pounds heavier..

“I’m figuring what it would take for us to move to Ireland to live.”  She ended it right then and there with a smack to the back of my head.  Such are the ways dreams die.

The idea lingered, though, and found its eventual birth in this bi-annual timeshare.  This was our year again to visit…

Mariellen, who is Sheila’s replacement, and currently in command, began it all sometime last year, a little before Christmas.  “We have the time share in Killarney next year, Dear.  Would you like to take Carolyn to Ireland with us?”  Carolyn is the youngest of our grandchildren and hasn’t ever been over “home” as they call it, has never met her cousins; the vast number of whom would stretch around the globe several times I am sure.  “Sure.”  And, then commenced the planning.  Mariellen has a special knack, and the gift of perseverance.  I have a special knack and the gift of stepping aside.  The plan was to take Carolyn for a week to Ireland, and also to visit one or two places along the Rhine that we had visited on our cruise; places I wanted to see more of with her.  We decided on Cologne and Strasbourg, for the two famous cathedrals, for the storks in one and the beer in the other, for the river on whose banks they both lie, for the pictures we would take and the memories we would make.

With my “Sure!” I had already left, of course.

Mariellen would catch up.  So would Carolyn, I hoped.


  1. ‘Tis a luvly recollection and a thing you do for your granddaughter.

    • Thank you, Rich. God give you the same opportunity for your own beautiful little ones.


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