The other night, me Mam, Tonya and meself were enjoying hot buttered whiskey after the kiddos were put to bed. I had made a lovely fire and I had me green throw you made me covering Ton and meself. So we were very comfy. I was out of Jameson and the night was in the negatives, so I wasn't about to venture out to buy some. I made do with Bushmills not telling either that I switched out the whiskey. But me Mam knew and was teasing me about it, because for some reason Bushmills makes her giddy where Jameson does not. I made her two whiskey drinks that night and by the second she was off and running with the jests all directed at yours truly. So much for a cozy night in front of the fire!
"Remember da tyme ye went ta yer grandda's farm an he tole ye to git da sheep in an not only did ye git his sheep in, ya got da neighbours in too?" Mam said laughing thinking the whole episode was funny. "I kin still see da luck on yer grandda's face when he counted tirty sheep when he only had tweny-five." And more laughter.
This sort of thing went on for an hour and I was not enjoying the walk down memory lane because all her stories were of things I screwed up on. I was determined to get her back.
Amid the laughter from both women I said to me Mam, "Oh I remember when you had a memory loss that lasted two days."
"Wot?" She asked sitting up straight.
"Yee-ah, the time ye were dating me Da and he took ya on yer first date. He was being the big man and taking you to yer first concert in Belfast. It was some flower power group ye remember that? Oh wait a minute, you probably don't."
"What's this?" Tonya asked amused.
"SHE," I pointed at me Mam who looked a little uncomfortable for a change, "SHE went to a 1970s concert not knowing who the band was she was going to see. The band was a free love and everything be just fine if yer smoking' pot kind of group, and if HER Mam and Da had known, she'd would have been grounded because they were considered a bunch of free luv druggies and some thought to throw in demonic. Any straight-laced Catholic wouldn't be seen at one of those venues. BUT, being young and naive and all struck with me Da she went! To be fair, she didn't know him that well so she had no idea his judgement was clouded. And it was in a dark theatre where she told me they could hardly see the band but for the black lights, and the music was so loud she lost her hearing for a week! Not the only thing she lost."
Tonya hooted at that thinking virginity and not what I was about to tell her.
"Anyway, she noticed everyone in the audience was smoking . . . and not cigarettes either. The roach clips were being passed back and forth and HER being a good Catholic girl abstained but me Da didn't. The concert became a blur because while she was not smoking, she was inhaling it."
Tonya and I laughed, Mam giggled, but I could see it was like she was hearing this story for the first time. And why? Because she couldn't remember most of it!
"So after the concert they get out in the street, and some fella comes up to them and says hi to me Mam, and she didn't know him, me Da didn't know him, and suddenly the guy realises wrong girl. So to save face he throws out his hand to me Mam, and says, "Hi I be sorry I taught ye were a girl I knoo, name Fiona. I'm Cillian." And me Mam (not because she be awestruck) said, "Hallo I be . . ." And she couldn't remember. And me future Da was no better he couldn't remember her name, nor his! The cannabis had wasted them both and they were clueless.
"To make matters worse, neither could remember what train they needed to take to Newry. As me Da told it he couldn't remember Newry! And me Mam (he said) was a bit better in that she knew they lived south of the city. Trains came and trains went and neither knew if they needed a train that went southwest or southeast. After about an hour of this, they went to a local tea shop to sober up neither truly knowing they weren't sober.
"They had several cuppas to no avail in the sobriety department and decided they'd both be in trouble as the hour was already late and they had better head somewhere at least. So the first train that came along was travelling southwest and lucky for them both that was the right train. Now it should be said the one train was one thing, but they needed a second one to get to Newry, at the time there was some work on the system so to get to Newry you needed to change trains. You see the problem? So when they got to the end of that train route, they were told to disembark it was the end of that line. Me Mam was getting a wee bit panicked, but they got off and looked at the list of towns on the board. Newly was right there, third from the top, but they didn't recognise it, I tell ya!
"After sitting on the waiting bench for 30 minutes, me Mam says, "I remember me name!" Me Da not satisfied with that said to her, "Ay, but what be mine?" This made her forget her own name again and she sat there in a near stupor and sadly said to him, "I dunt knoo."
"They had a wee bit of a heated discussion as to why they couldn't remember vital information when a constable of the law (making his rounds) came upon them. Well, they both had the idea they were high on "something," what exactly they were high on and how exactly they got high, they were not sure on that either. So when they saw the constable, they were suddenly mum for fear they'd be arrested for not knowing who they were and where they needed to go.
"Well, the constable saw they were sitting quietly so he went on his way. Now ya'd think if they at least had a town name they could ask the constable directions since the train station wasn't open. Only a schedule of trains and times was displayed on a board outside the place and a fat lot of good that does if ye don't know where yer going to.
"Three trains had come and gone and finally when the fourth one came, the two decided to get on as it was the last train south. On they went even though the sign said DUBLIN in big letters across the face when it pulled in, and off they tooled SOUTH. Even me sister Sheila who be topnotch in the cunning department and short on the smart department would have known Dublin was too far SOUTH and it was in the REPUBLIC! Bye d' bye UK of Northern Ireland.
"As they tooled on down the tracks they started to see things that looked familiar but could not agree that what one saw looked like "something" the other did not recognise, and vice-versa until it was too late, Newry faded off into the background and dark fields came into view which if you know the route from Belfast to Newry there aren't too much of those in the foreground, BUT if you travel from Newry south, oh yes there be lots of fields. It wasn't until they were seeing water (a great deal of it) they knew enough they were not in Newry but someplace else. Big city lights a few bridges over a river and much too much population to be anyplace but . . . say it with me kiddies . . . DUBLIN!
"It turned out to be quite an expensive trip and luckily if you are a resident of NI you don't need a passport to enter the Republic. So there they were. 2 a.m in the morning, nothing open, no one about the place, but by then they remembered their names AND where they lived. It was put by me Mam to me future Da she had to call her parents and tell them what had happened. His problem was he was responsible for taking her to a concert the parents didn't approve of, and that she was high on inhaling cannabis even though she did not smoke it. How to you put that into words without a consequence once uttered?
"Well, he called HIS parents instead as they be used to his wayward ways and THEY (brave souls they were) called HER parents and apologised profusely for their son's lack of brain use and told them that his Da was on his way to Dublin (the two being out of money) to carry them home. This was all done, and the truth of the consequence was me Da got off scot free because well, he's a guy and me Mam well she found herself looking at brochures for a nunnery!"
"Oh my," Tonya smiled amused, "but you didn't go to one quite obviously you're here."
"I did note. I wuz very profishinal, I stated da facts such as I could remember dem an ended up married ta Gabriel's Da . . . da troublemaker me own Mam called em' til' da day she oop an died." She was silent a moment and added, "An she wuz roight he wuz an still be."
"Ok Mam let's not get into THAT we know he's a bad man." I said laughing.
"Ye laugh now but ye wait until yer tree boyos get ta da "age" an' ye tell me how funny it be."
"Already it isn't funny," Tonya said, "just this morning I lectured Guido on not sassing his elders after he told me he wasn't going to take the trash out and he kicked at his brother's chair to emphasise his words nearly knocking him to the ground. I said as an after thought, "and be good to your brothers, so honour your father and mother and before I could finish my sentence he said, "yeah, yeah, yeah I shall not kill my brothers." I didn't find that funny.
"He be a smarty arse he be quoting scripture," Mam said laughing because she did find it funny.
If I could ground Mam for telling stories out of school and Guido for being a smartarse, I would. Wait a minute I can ground Guido! Geez you'd think I was inhaling weed.
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