Saturday

Séimí Fergal Bradaigh

For breakfast this morning I took a roll and sausage with the eldest of the sons. He explained his anguish after a recent chance meeting in a bar with a young fella by the name of McDonough who had asked him the history of our own family name. The son was both saddened yet indignant as we sat and drank the breakfast tea as he began to tell me of the mans questions about me and the story of his own oul fella and his McDonough name. It stirred a momentary glow of bitter hatred within me, of which I have long since tried to put aside. I no longer look in the mirror and see a resentful man. These days I prefer peace to fragmented bone. But auld wounds still run as deep as the scars that forever line my face to remind me of what I once was. I reminded him of the blog entry below I revealed some years ago, of which some of you may remember.



McDonough was his name, but he also masqueraded under the name of Flanagan to be associated with the heroes of an earlier time. A big man he was, both in name and of stature. He had the most determined of walks, and would make a show of the defiance by way of his stride. No working man on the docks of Glasgow had time for Flanagan. Not even when he was in the company of money and the drink was about him. A protestant man he was, and loud with it, although his chest bore no symbols of Ulster or the red hand. When he took to striding down the dock at the back of two, many a man would tremble behind his piece and cheese and tremble the jar of the warm Barry tea.

“Move that feckin jay-ket, can you’se no see that ah’m an important man in need of a seat?” he would cry.

If the owner of the coat was slow to move, Flanagan would reach down and toss it into the waters murky depths out of sheer spite.

“You’ll no need to be telt the twice again!” he would proclaim to all those before him.

Many eyes would flash with the anger of it all, but Flanagan was a union man and no to be crossed by those who relied on the Friday shilling to keep their families warm. It was the Saturday after the funeral of the first born son, which saw my faither sitting alone on the bitterly cold dock with his auld mash of tea by his side. A small space had been cleared by the men, who although they could not utter the soft words of comfort to a bereaved man of Glasgow, could muster a show of respect by leaving him be. It was then that Flanagan chose to make his imposing entrance. He stood in front of the faither and pointed at the small brown keepsake of a shoe fae the boy who had been lost to the terrible cough. It was his only remembrance of such a wee life taken so young.

“Move that, or fish it back oot” came Flanagan’s harrying cry. “Whit is it, a wee dolly shoe eh?” said the man who had little thought for anyone but his self.

The faither rose, the great bull of a man that he was, the look of the divil came about his face as he stood square before him, a great blackness reaching out fae his eyes as he gripped the protestant man firmly by his coat.

“I pity you Flanagan” said the faither. "The very inside of you is cold, and you will never feel the love or the warmth of childer. My first born is only just laid to rest, and yet the love he leaves inside of my soul will always stay with me. You have no one, and will always remain an empty shell of a man to the end. Turn away and be gone, take this heed and wear it well, for I cannae guarantee what the rage will do to a dog such as you.”

But McDonough who was also Flanagan, did not heed the warning of my faither and was brutally pitched over the side by the very same men who could no find the words for a bereaved man of the docks. Let no talk of religion, nor the softness of words stand between men born of poverty and Glasgow’s proud men of the shipyards. No a word was said between the two for more than the passing of ten years, until the morning Flanagan was cold and present at his own wake. It was a sparse congregation that stood and watched my faither enter the protestant kirk and approach the man who could find no happiness even under two names.

“Now I can finally forgive you” said the faither, as he placed a blackened and torn welder’s glove atop the casket lid. “Now you fully understand the pain of loss, but sadly it is your own. Pray that no man will ever ask you to move this glove.”

His words were vague to those few who stood before the casket, but some eyes smiled. There were those in attendance who remembered back to that bitterly cold day on the dock.



No recipes this day from masel. Instead, I journey spiritually to the place where my oul fella now lays. I like to believe that he made me and the sons the men we are this day. For you da, the very words you used to sing when we were all feart back when men died of the poverty, drink and the blackness of their own sin.

Dreaming in the night,
I saw a land where no-one had to fight,
Waking in your dawn,
I saw you crying in the morning light,
sleeping where the falcons fly,
They twist and turn all in your air-blue sky,
Living on your western shore,
Saw summer sunsets, I asked for more,
I stood by your Atlantic sea,
And I sang a song for Ireland

43 comments:

  1. i remember reading this and how i felt then. it's the same now. here's to your da and to you, sweetpea, tis an honor. xoxoxx

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    1. It was hard to bring back the bad memories of a previous time, but in order to move forward we occasionally have to glance back to see how far we have come.

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  2. A solid rock of a man. And it seems the son has his stones... Raising a glass to your father! To generations!

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    1. To generations of many more chefs indeed hen.I am to be a granda again very soon.

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    2. and you shall remain the swooniest granda on planet earth! congratulations! let the glorious genetics continue!

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    3. Many a good tune still played on an oul fiddle hen.

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  3. I *DO* remember that post. Not one easily forgotten. Some wounds run hundreds of years deep. Longer than one man's lifetime. A nation carries the wounds of its fathers and its father's fathers.

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    1. It is a man's right to carry a grudge in his heart for those who cut quick a parent's soul. It is a bigger man who can put aside that hatred for the sake of his children.

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    2. Pew, your comment was written with blindness about the eyes and soul. It is not what is written that you see, merely an anger to club those with a history and passion. It will remain hidden in shame for your thoughts.

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    3. There are none so blind that cannot see. Perhaps your passion should begin at your church?

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  4. I have the looks of Ma's side, but I always get that rush when aul folk tell me I have the ways of my Da!

    Drinking all the day in old pubs
    Where fiddlers love to play
    Someone touched the bow,
    He played a reel
    It seemed so fine and gay
    Stood on dingle beach
    And cast in wild foam we found atlantic bass

    Sláinte.

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    1. A grand voice for such a wee donkey eh? - Shrek x

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    2. I see it now, a big ugly thing with a grand heart, and his wee pal with the loud 'hee-haw'! Ya big bawbag! - Donkey x

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    3. I was thinking more of a wee bandy-legged creature always getting into bother, as well as having the foul breath of a beast.

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    4. I was thinking more a big ugly green thing, ears too big fer his heid, cross-eyed, small willy complex. Ah feck, who am ah kiddin? Ah still love the bawbag!

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    5. Green about the gills this morn perhaps, twas the stilton itself that had me up the neet in the smallest room of the hoose.

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    6. No... too much stilton!

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    7. In the name of CHEESES!

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    8. Just think, if you had stilts on you'd be taller!!!

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    9. C'mon then, brie it oan!

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  5. Why so complex about your spirituality? Every passage contains biblical and religious meaning. It was your loathing of a fellow human being regardless of the C of E undertones that presents me with a continual negative image of you as a man.

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    1. Pew, it concerns me that you have sailed around the cosmos on the good ship of Theseus with only Heraclitus, Socrates, and Plato as your crew. Your limited knowledge and understanding of science is second only to your seemingly vile fecundity for bent-at-the-knee asexual propagules that are mutated by your beliefs. May I suggest either masturbation or Glenfiddich to repel these moments of impotent comments before you sit down to write?

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    2. Chef, the kingdom of God is basically the rule of God, and one day Christ will reign in a visible kingdom. "Salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ" became a reality when the Child ascended - NOW IS COME ... these things - AND these things NOW CAME ("immediate past") at the same time the devil was cast down. To assign these four things to a future time, such as the middle of the tribulation, is a futile effort when seen in the light of Christ. We would be left wondering why these things CAME then, when they were already in place and operable when that time arrives. These things have been set in place since Christ's ascension and will be fully manifested when Christ returns.

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    3. Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge; it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science. - Charles Darwin

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    4. Pew, for the love of Christ (nudge nudge wink wink) don't you have something better to do? isn't there soup to be made for the homeless or clothes to be collected for the poor? but yet it seems you spend most of your time on the internets prattling away, Jesus was a fine buddhist but i'm sure he'd gag on his fish and vino if he heard all the shite spouted in his name... and on the off chance he does show up i'm sure he'll be on the first UFO outta here after he sees the mess his "followers" have made of it.

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  6. I'm sorry only for the pain you and your family were caused. You're right, we grow from our experiences, hard though they may be. An old Gullah saying translates to, "You can't know where you're going unless you know where you've come from."

    Perhaps one day pewfodder will look inward and work on his/her own growth rather than casting stones...which I'm pretty sure Christians are discouraged from doing.

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  7. Dear lady, pain is merely weakness leaving the body, unlike religious doctrine that acts as a crutch for those weak and filled with one paradox after another. Mans need to seek out, hunt and kill its enemy in order to survive are more third world these days in my opinion. I prefer a cup of tea and a documentary instead of constantly sharpening an axe for a battle of wills. Only bored stone throwers and glass house attendants mingle with forked tongue snake oil salesmen as they gather at the rivers to wash the bare feet of sinners such as me. Holy Jaysus, here I go again bringing religion into my posts.

    Perhaps blind Pew was right.

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  8. God bless your father - may he rest in peace and keep a watchful eye on you and your family.

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    1. Thank you Patricia, his eye is sure to be upon his brood, except of course for match days when he will be willing on the mighty hoops with his own mob!

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  9. Fodder: "A consumable, often inferior item or resource that is in demand and usually abundant supply". Quite apt given that religions of all kinds have used their flock as cannon fodder.

    As for the rest of the gibberish he writes, makes my head hurt.

    Unlike you Sir Shrek, I shall be reading your touching words as long as you care to write them, xxx

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    1. Eileen, Thank you. Pew is an intelligent individual who chooses instead to show off his coprophagia skills to a wider audience due to his lack of self confidence and social awareness. Gibberish is sadly a deluded way of feeling good about himself. It might have been easier for him to have made a friend rather than attract so much scorn.

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  10. A grand man i'm sure.
    As you say, sometimes we must revisit the past to see how far we've come.
    I'd say your Father did an outstanding job of raising his sons ... and so have you.

    Congratulations on becoming a GrandDa again!
    xxx

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    1. In the darkest recesses can be found morals and codes of conduct. A good man is hard to find amongst the deritus that often passes for humanity in some cities of the modern world. Always open a door for a lady, never curse or persuade violence in the home, always treat others as you would see them treat you.

      Being a grandfaither again at an age were I can enjoy the previous generations is indeed a thrill.

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  11. I remember reading the post.
    The tyranny of the man one step up....

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  12. Tyranny, the most threadbare of cloaks a man can wear about the shoulders. Better that a man can keep away the coldness by the friendship he weaves throughout his short lifetime.

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  13. And that one my friend was a beauty... here's to adding to the clan, congrats to grandda and his brood.

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  14. Many thanks pal, I'll keep churning them out and paying for the pleasure eh? So much for peace and quiet in my retirement.

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  15. What a great story. It's easy to romanticise those highly unionised days of full employment but only if you never lived through them. I was right behind your Dad as he said his piece, (with my 9 stone arts graduate English frame).

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  16. That little man Pew certainly craves your attention, must be a green streak of envy rearing his tiny voice.

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    1. Pew is an attention seeker, but he craves divinity, not acceptance. A sad loss to... someone somewhere.

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  17. I could spill the beans on many unions and their strongarm tactics in the 80s. Couple that with the sectarian divide in Glasgow and you begin to see how difficult life was on the docks. From top to bottom, the rats that lurk beneath the rotting planks of unionisation were at it!

    I should know... they employed people like me to do their dirty work.

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Thank you, the chef is currently preparing an answer for you in the kitchen. Do help yourself to more bread.