The Heelers Diaries

the fantasy world of ireland's greatest living poet

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

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


A Kilcullen original had died.
A man hewn from the history of the town and himself an icon of that history.
I knew there was a fair chance one of my Christian uncles would ask me to act as taxi and bring said uncle up to the house of the dead man's family to pay respects.
And I was mortified.
Because thirty five years ago I'd been lousy to one of his daughters in the ball alley off main street.
Lousy in the way I was always lousy.
I don't know why people didn't just shoot me.
I'd arrived at the ball alley and found the ten year old girl and her friends playing ahead of me.
And I'd said: "You lot. Off."
And made them go away.
Although to be fair the little girl had given me plenty of flack for my troubles.
"Ghosty, you little ghosty, you're just a little ghosty" she had catcalled from the sidelines for about an hour as I played, in apparent reference to the pallor of my skin.
Nowadays she'd have to call me Beetrooty.
I'd always regretted my treatment of her and her friends.
Not the least when in her mid teens she suddenly turned into the best looking girl in Kilcullen.
Sigh again.
The girls of my town were like refugees from a Breughal painting.
Good looking ones were at a premium.
Sigh, sigh and treble sigh.
Not to be.
How could I now go into her house thirty five years later with her father dead and extend the hand of friendship never having troubled myself to put things right in the past?
How could I carry it off?
What would I say?
Mumble something apologetic maybe.
"Sorry, I'm sorry. I mean I'm sorry for being a louser during our childhood."
Worse than saying nothing.
Oh Lord.
Think Heelers.
It's not about you.
It's about her father dying.
Maybe I won't have to go.
Within minutes of this meditation there came a knocking at my door.
It was my avuncular Christian Uncle Jim.
"Let's go," he said all business.
I knew  where he expected me to bring him.
We arrived on the doorstep of the deceased man's house.
The door opened.
A beautiful girl, more beautiful than ever, welcomed us.
It was her.
I hadn't seen her in three decades.
First she welcomed Uncle Jim.
"Jim," and she clasped his hands.
Then she turned to me.
Her face lit up.
Her eyes were bright and glowing and positively wondrously kind.
On her face nothing but blessing.
"Peter," she breathed.
My brother's name.
"It's James, Anne," I corrected, "your old friend from the ball alley."


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