The Heelers Diaries

the fantasy world of ireland's greatest living poet

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Location: Kilcullen (Phone 087 7790766), County Kildare, Ireland

Thursday, April 01, 2010

the story of my quarrel with cardinal sean brady

Standing in a queue at Rome airport.
The sexy sultry Italian girl handling the check in desk for our queue didn't feel like working.
The queue was not moving.
Queues to right and left of us proceeded forward at untypical Italian speed.
That is to say, they moved.
Ahead of me in my own queue was an Italian priest.
Also a nondescript grey haired senior citizen with a quiet demeanour.
Also a chubby ruddy faced Irish countryman and his wife who were gushing inanities over the nondescript grey haired fellow as though they knew him.
Presently the countryman and his wife stepped into the adjoining queue.
The nondescript guy joined them.
Now only the Italian priest was ahead of me in the non moving queue.
Suddenly the sexy sultry Italian girl woke up.
She beckoned the Italian priest forward.
He didn't move.
He signalled to the nondescript chap to step back into the queue in front of me.
The nondescript guy looked at me with mellow eyes.
"Is it alright?" he asked discreetly.
An Irish accent.
Just another queue jumping Paddy Whack.
I held his gaze and said nothing.
He could jump the queue.
But I would not give him permission to jump the queue.
The nondescript Irishman made his decision, stepped ahead of me up to the Italian sexicia and received his boarding pass.
In his wake, the chubby countryman and his wife stepped smartly back in front of me too and on up to the sexy check in girl.
The nondescript man turned to me.
"They're all doing it," he murmured genially with the hint of an apology in his tone.
Something in my stare made him hurry off.
The Italian priest now stepped up to Aud Sexy having held the place free for the other three queue galoots.
I waited quietly till he was gone.
My turn.
The Italian girl looked at me.
A smile suffused her features.
It was such a smile.
If you saw that smile during an earthquake, you'd say: "Who cares about earthquakes? Don't be bothering me. I'm contemplating celestial beauty."
It was so Italian the way she did it.
Made the whole earlier business of waiting while she idled, irrelevant.
In an instant, I cared nought for queue jumpers.
Or indeed for anything else.
I had seen proof of the divine in her smile.
Nothing else mattered.
The Italian girl's smile was the only thing in the universe.
I got my boarding pass.
Soon I was on my seat in the plane.
A whimsical grin playing about my handsome preraphaelite features.
It didn't last.
The nondescript Irishman came toddling down the aisle and sat down.
His seat was directly across from me.
Right across the aisle.
I felt my resentment rising.
He looked over in my direction and seemed poised to strike up a conversation, then thought better of it.
I sat back and did my best to relax.
A young air steward walked down the aisle.
"Your Eminence," he said to the nondescript Irishman. "You probably don't remember me. I fell sick in Rome last year and you visited me in the Gemelli hospital. I never got a chance to thank you but you kept an eye on me during my convalescence and made sure my family knew where I was."
The nondescript man exchanged pleasantries with the air steward.
A passenger wandered up from the back of the plane.
"Your Eminence," he said. "Thank you for everything you've done for peace in Northern Ireland."
The nondescript man insisted he'd done nothing.
"Do you think we'll ever see a lasting settlement there?" wondered the passenger.
"I know our children will see it," said the nondescript man.
The plane took off.
The passenger sitting in the seat adjacent to the nondescript man soon revealed himself as an interminable talker. The traveller's nightmare. He talked incessantly to El Nondescripto who soon looked weary.
"Good," I thought to myself. "Serves him right."
The nondescript man silenced his fellow traveller temporarily by pretending to pray the rosary.
Throughout the flight, at odd intervals, other people approached the nondescript man via the aisle to chat about all sorts of things.
Weary or not, he received them like old friends.
One couple thanked him for performing their wedding service ten years ago.
I began to find it difficult to maintain my dislike for him.
We got into Dublin after dark.
I was home by midnight.
My aged parents were waiting.
We had tea in the kitchen.
"I think I saw a senior churchman on the flight home," sez me.
Paddy Pup placed his head on my shoe.
The hamster stirred in my right sleeve.
"That was Cardinal Sean Brady," said the Mammy. "It was on the news that he was coming back from Rome tonight."
I nodded bitterly.
"He's a queue jumper," I pronounced. "He skipped ahead of me in the queue at the airport. It's a wonder the Catholic church has survived two millenniums with these sort of lads in it."
The Dad took a meditative sip of tea.
"He knew my sister," quoth he cryptically.
"You're joking," sez me.
The Dad showed not a tither of a smile nor spoke one word more.
The Mammy provided the explanation.
"A few years ago your Aunty Mary went to Rome to visit the shrine of Saint Rita of Cassia," recalled she. "She was over seventy years of age at the time and not a very good organiser. She arrived without booking accomodation in advance. When she was at Rome airport she rang the Irish College in the city looking for accomodation. The girl who answered the phone put Mary through to Bishop Brady. He was just a lowly Bishop at the time. Anyway he thought she sounded a bit out of her depth. So he drove out to the airport himself and collected her. He arranged accomodation for her at the Irish college. And he personally brought her up to the shrine of Saint Rita during the week. I think he had a car laid on for her throughout her stay so that she could see all the sights. He stayed in touch with her too afterwards. She always referred to him simply as Brady."
The noble Heelers let out a long low whistle.
From that moment I resolved never to harshly judge a queue jumper again.


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