Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Brendan's Birthday Cake.

I had a chat with mam the other night and she told me this little story. I hadn’t heard this tale in its entirety and I am not too sure that any of us have, least of all Brendan, but I could be wrong.

It was June 1963 and it was Brendan’s birthday, he was four years old and Mam was taking him into town to buy him a new pair of shoes. He needed them. Mam didn’t really like to go into town. In all the years I lived at home the only time she took the trip to the city was for communion or confirmation stuff. She was not one to wander around Grafton Street window shopping although when she got there she enjoyed it. She was usually much too busy for that anyway.

She always came back from a trip to the city refreshed and smiling. Like a little hurricane of fresh air. I think it was because she was glad to be home. I can still hear the squeal of the gate and see her coming up the pathway, usually preceded by delighted children. We wanted to know what was in the bags and if she bought anything for us.

There were very few cars in those days so if we wanted to into town it was either by 'bus or by bike. The 'bus stop was a few steps from P. J. Kilmartins the turf accountant in Crumlin Village. This was a dark- windowed place with bold  letters in gold. The interior was full of cast off betting tickets and smelled of stale porter and workman’s sweat. If you were waiting for a 'bus you would lean against this shop window with one eye fixed in the distance for the approaching 'bus while you savored the essence of porter every time the door opened.

The 'bus had to be spotted in time because to leave the window and arrive at the stop took a few seconds and you didn’t want to be late.

Across the street from P. J. Kilmartins was Boland’s Bakery. While they waited brendan’s eagle eye rested on the goodies. Even from a distance he could make out the different cakes on sale in the window. Brendan: “Ma, can I have a cake for me birthday?” Mam: “What! Aren’t you going into town to get a new pair of shoes? Are you never satisfied? “

End of conversation. Even at this tender age Brendan knew how far he could go when the face was on.

Mam and Brendan arrived in town with Mam still in a sour mood. After reaching their destination and having bought the shoes they were whipped up by the crowds and Mam was not one bit pleased; she wanted to get home.

Then, slowly, in the distance, a big limousine wound its way along the crowded street and appeared with President Kennedy waving to the people, Mam being one of those people. Magic was in the air. The charisma and charm and god like presence of this man from far off lands as he drove by was mesmerizing. Not only that, he was tanned! The only tanned people we ever saw in Dublin were Rock Hudson , Kirk Douglas or John Wayne on the big screen. Here, approaching the Mother was a real live tan.

In spite of herself she was swept up by the magic of the motorcade and caught up in the adulation and good will that this young President brought to the city of Dublin and it's good people  in those dreary days. She was transformed. Gone was the bad mood, replaced by the euphoria  of seeing President Kennedy up close. She was taken out of herself and she joined in the awe struck throng. She was won over. She was elated.

When it was all over and the crowds thinned  they took the journey  home and got off the 'bus at the stop near Boland’s Bakery. Brendan decided to chance his arm again and asked if he could have a cake for his birthday.

He chose his moment well.

”Of course you can son” she said in this new spirit of goodwill. “Will a chocolate one do?”

That is how Brendan got his birthday cake. All it took was a visit from the President of the United States.

I had often heard the story about mam seeing President Kennedy but did not get all the details until the other night when we had a chat.

Five months later President Kennedy would be gone and the world changed forever.

In a few weeks’ time Brendan will be 53 and he now has children of his own.

To be continued....

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Friday, May 27, 2011

Frank Sinatra - You and me

Really fine duet with Dionne Warwick that I had never seen before.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Terry's Birthday On The 27th

A happy looking Terry (What's in that glass ?) during the Philly get together. Happy birthday Ter. I also have it on very good authority that it is Terry and Terry's anniversary so happy anniversary to you both.

One of the first pictures I took of Ter when I first arrived at the house in Philly in 1981 or so.

Terry shares his birthday with Uncle Dessie.

Summer Is On The Way

An afternoon stroll and a test for the new Lumix digital camera DMC-ZS8 to replace the small Nikon which I did not  like. This one is great and a good buy for anyone in the market for a camera. .

A Few Arnold Jokes From Late Night Television.

"Arnold Schwarzenegger fathered a child with a maid, and now the kid is mad at her for lying to him all these years. She'd told him his father was an actor." –Jay Leno

"I'm Conan O'Brien, or as I can now publicly call myself, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jr." –Conan O'Brien

"Schwarzenegger secretly fathered a child outside of his marriage 10 years ago. He told his wife at the time but it took 10 years for her to figure out what he was saying." –Conan O'Brien

Arnold kept this secret for more than 10 years. You know how he did it? He moved the woman and child into an apartment right down the street from the Pakistani military academy." –Jay Leno

"Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver have put their mansion on the market for 23 million dollars. The mansion is nice but it's not all that clean. They had a maid, but she was always busy doing other stuff." –Jimmy Fallon

Beethoven's Sixth

Another boring video from JP.
This music is a mirror into the soul at any given time in life. I have been listening this symphony for about forty years in all corners of the world ,it never fails to bring peace and quiet no matter what the circumstances. If you  are unfamiliar with it:; it is a musical meander through the country side. My favorite music and my favorite place. This is from a trip to Elkton today.

Friday, May 20, 2011



1. My mother taught me TO APPRECIATE A JOB WELL DONE.
'If you're going to kill each other, do it outside. I just finished cleaning.'

2. My mother taught me RELIGION .
'You better pray that this will come out of the carpet.'

3. My mother taught me about TIME TRAVEL
'If you don't straighten up, I'm going to knock you into the middle of next week!'

4. My mother taught me LOGIC .
' Because I said so, that's why.'

5.My mother taught me MORE LOGIC .
'If you fall out of that swing and break your neck, you're not going to the store with me.'

6. My mother taught me FORESIGHT.
'Make sure you wear clean underwear, in case you're in an accident.'

7. My mother taught me IRONY.
'Keep crying, and I'll give you something to cry about.'

8. My mother taught me about the science of OSMOSIS.
'Shut your mouth and eat your supper.'

9. My mother taught me about CONTORTIONISM .
'Will you look at that dirt on the back of your neck!'

10. My mother taught me about STAMINA
'You'll sit there until all that SOUP is gone.'

11. My mother taught me about WEATHER ..
'This room of yours looks as if a tornado went through it.'

12. My mother taught me about HYPOCRISY
'If I told you once, I've told you a million times. Don't exaggerate!'

13. My mother taught me the CIRCLE OF LIFE .
'I brought you into this world, and I can take you out.'

14. My mother taught me about BEHAVIOUR MODIFICATION.
'Stop acting like your father!'

15. My mother taught me about ENVY.
'There are millions of less fortunate children in this world who don't have wonderful parents like you do..'

16. My mother taught me about ANTICIPATION.
'Just wait until we get home.'

17. My mother taught me about RECEIVING .
'You are going to get it when you get home!'

18. My mother taught me MEDICAL SCIENCE.
'If you don't stop crossing your eyes, they are going to get stuck that way.'

19. My mother taught me ESP .
'Put your sweater on; don't you think I know when you are cold?'

20. My mother taught me HUMOUR .
'When that lawn mower cuts off your toes, don't come running to me..'

21. My mother taught me HOW TO BECOME AN
'If you don't eat your vegetables, you'll never grow up.'

22. My mother taught me GENETICS.
'You're just like your father.'

23. My mother taught me about my ROOTS.
'Shut that door behind you. Do you think you were born in a tent?'

24. My mother taught me WISDOM.
'When you get to be my age, you'll understand.'

25. And my favourite:
My mother taught me about JUSTICE
'One day you'll have kids, and I hope they turn out just like you '

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Tale Of Two Cities

Colin Walsh Esquire


And of two barbeques. What happened?  Where did I go wrong?

Friday, May 13, 2011

Frank Sinatra Anniversary 14th Of May

The song is ended but the melody lingers on.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Wednesday, May 04, 2011


This was a splendid and memorable day at the beach. The wind was gale force and the rain merciless. Just the way I like it. A great day for a birthday.
There are three pieces of music that everyone should be familiar with in this piece. Not counting the Chopin in the car.
I couldn't hear a word of the commentary for the most part because of the noise of the wind and the rain. A great, great day. A month ago from today.

Incident At The Dump

This is the dump te de dump te de dump dump dump dump

I went on my weekly trip to the dump last week. Those of us living on the edge take the garbage to the dump ourselves. It costs nothing.

At the dump there is a recycle center where you separate the green bottles and the white bottles and the plastic etc. While separating these bottles it gives you the opportunity to say to yourself “did I drink all that?”

The dump is often staffed with local inmates from the low security prison. They wear the uniforms that you see in ‘Cool Hand Luke’ for those familiar with that film. They are those off- white dungaree things with the stripes on them. It is a sight to see. One of these fellows came over to me and asked if I needed any help. He was a big burly unshaven prime example of the inmate but he was very polite. I asked him if he would empty the tin cans for me. He took my plastic container with the tin cans.

Among the tin cans was a big gallon can with the words ‘extra virgin olive oil ‘in bold letters. He did what I asked him to do and brought the plastic container back to me. I thanked him, he winked, leaned over to me and whispered “Tell me Sir, did you have to speak extra sweet to the virgin olive oil? “

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Monday, May 02, 2011

Dudley's New Friend

We came across this gorgeous greyhound in the park today. It is unusual to see greyhounds off the leash as the general opinion is that they are so used to running that they will run away. Not this girl, she stayed by her owner and enjoyed graceful romps in the park to stretch her legs. These greyhound are adopted by kind people off the track when their careers are finished. They are gentle and kind and very affectionate. I would love to have a couple of them.
The Dudster was not happy out of the limelight.

I have a special affinity for greyhounds for the following reason. I worked in Jervis St. Hospital in Dublin for about two years. I was the bottle washer and vegetable peeler in the hospital kitchen. . Every Friday   I would bring home the pay and keep some for myself. The rest I would give to mam as we all did. It was a great help. One of the chefs in Jervis St. was Dick Hitchcock and he was a character. Mam and Phyllis will remember him.

One Friday after work he took me to the greyhound races. I think it was in Shelbourne Park but it  might have been in Harolds Cross.  He had a great tip on a dog called Derrylavan Daisy. When the race came up  with this dog Dick had lost all his money on the previous races so he had no money left to bet on this sure thing.

He asked me if I would give him my wages, we were paid in coin then, and I did. He told me that if it won he would give me some of the winnings and if it didn’t he would make sure that I got my money back.

I gave him my wages.

The dog came in last and I had to go home that night to tell mam that I had lost my wages on the dogs. I was fifteen.

Dick Hitchcock, god bless him, gave me my money back in the next couple of days and all was well. I did not go to the dogs again but I have always loved these gentle creatures whose one purpose in life seemed to be to catch that hare.