The Heelers Diaries

the fantasy world of ireland's greatest living poet

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

Sunday, December 27, 2015

christmas in the heartland

At Phenagh Bermingham's charity fundraiser my local nemesis the author broadcaster Brian Byrne meets me in the corridor.
"Hello James," he says affably.
I am somewhat surprised and do my best to babble a congenial reply.
I search my mind for a bon mot.
Or even a moderately okay mot.
People, even nemesises, expect me to come out with witty ripostes in the most everyday circumstances.
"Hello Brian," I manage finally.
It's not Maupassant or Thurber, but it'll have to do.
I'm still amazed he greeted me at all.
Later I'm sitting in the Tearman Cafe on Main Street.
Ron Bryce, my old teacher from Primary School enters the cafe.
He's another occasional nemesis.
The first nemesis mentioned above, normally outs me on his website every time I slander the second nemesis on this blog.
It's a sort of nemesis dynamic thing which gilds the small town harmony of Kilcullen with occasional paroxyms of indifference, I mean controversy.
Ron Bryce is a civilised fellow but scratch the surface and he thinks, as do all good atheistic liberals, that I'm some kind of a monster.
We go through periods of politeness.
But Ron hasn't been able to look at me without a shudder for the past six months.
Presumably it's because he's read something I wrote about immigration.
Or about Muslims.
Or about Donald Trump.
Or maybe it was when I wrote that the only thing that would turn me against Donald Trump would be if Donald Trump converted to Islam and tried to in-migrate.
Might have been that one.
Today he sits at my table and eats his lunch with me.
We talk about Irish culture and the destiny of the Irish language.
Both of us are struggling manfully to avoid any topic which might hurt the other.
Presently he gets up to go, bidding me a happy Christmas without any sign of underlying socialist rancour subtext as he exits stage left.
It is a seasonally chuffed Heelers that wanders down to the riverside walk which the Camphill Community have opened to the public.
A woman with a handicap approaches me.
I don't think I've heard her speak in a decade.
Today she is singing: "Deck the halls with boughs of holly, tra, la, la, la, la, la, la."
She's singing it quite well.
Now I'm alone again.
I shake my head in some bemusement.
"I've got to hand it to you Jesus," I muse aloud. "You really know how to create a party in the universe."


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