That kind of a way
21 October Tuesday
I thought we would be blown away last night. The promises and threats for the encroaching hurricane announced that the entire country was in Yellow Alert. I gathered up a few things that I thought might go flying around outside. As I was coming up from the barn I cut off a single rose bud which was just about to blossom. I knew I would prefer to watch it open up indoors rather than have it beaten to death by wind and rain. I also picked the very last sweet peas of the year. I woke up off and on all through the night. The noise of the wind was mighty but there was no rain. This morning I expected to see branches down and lots of chaos but there was very little damage. Leaves and small branches were scattered about but the big promised storm seemed to miss us. It missed us or maybe it got weak before it got as far as here. The mountains protected us. I could not help but feel a little disappointed after so many dire warnings and the excitement of the radio announcers. If there had been terrible devastation I would no doubt feel ashamed. The day dawned bright and mild and breezy. The hedge cutting man and his machine made more trouble than the storm. There were stones out of the wall all the way down the boreen from where he bumped into it. Some of them were too big for me to lift so I had to leave those for Simon. Clearing them away made plenty of work. We did not really need the mess of a hurricane.
19 October Sunday
We took the X51 from Galway. It was fast and it traveled on the new motorway, so it was a smooth journey. There was an old man sitting in the front seat behind the driver. He fell into a deep sleep as soon as the bus started. He slept the full hour and a half . He woke up as we pulled into Limerick station and he was the first one off the bus.
We went into the station café for tea and toast while we waited for our connection. The old man came in soon after us. He ordered a piece of apple pie. The counter lady poured cream over it. He took the pie to a table and ate it fast. He ate one bite right after the other without stopping. He finished the pie and left his plate on the table. The man then went up to the counter and ordered a big slice of layer cake. The counter lady held up the jug of cream and he nodded. She poured a lot of cream onto his cake. He came over to our table and asked if he could join us. He sat down and began to eat his cake with the same undivided attention with which he had eaten his pie.
He had a short sleeved tee shirt and he had no bag with him. It did not seem that he was going far. The weather was too cold for a tee shirt and no jacket. He sat down with us when there were a lot of empty tables so I knew he wanted to talk. He asked if we lived in Limerick. I said no and I asked him if he lived in Limerick. He said no. He said he lived in Galway. He had just come over on the bus for a slice of cake but the pie looked good, so he had a piece of pie first and now he was having cake which is what he came for. He told us that he was retired and that he used to be a farmer. I asked if he missed the farming and he said no. He said he did not miss the farming but he did miss his wife. She had been a teacher and she died two years ago in December. He said the hardest thing was losing your life partner. Losing your partner and living in retirement had a way of making life empty.
He said he enjoyed his travel card. Every person in the country over the age of 65 has this card. The card allows them to travel on buses and trains for free. They can take someone along with them too. Two people can travel for free. He enjoys the freedom of his card but he would like it better if his wife could travel with him. Today he had ridden for an hour and a half to get to Limerick. He ate pie and cake and soon he would be on the bus back to Galway. That would be another hour and a half. Riding the buses was a way for him to pass the time.
We said goodbye and went out to wait for our connecting bus. We watched as he came out of the station and climbed back on board the X51.
17 October Friday
You Know That Kind of A Way. This is said in lieu of You Know What I Mean. It is said often and it seems a way of not expressing what one means very well and just hoping that the listener knows enough about what is being discussed.
16 October Thursday
I like being out on the road. I like the possibility of seeing who I might meet. I am not necessarily wanting to meet anyone, but there is something nice in knowing that if I walk out and if I do meet someone that someone will be someone I know. As with the man in the red fleece last week, an exception is possible, but it is rare.
Today I met Sean while walking. He is still recovering from his treatments and he has been walking out most days to build up his strength. After months and months, he is looking well and getting stronger. We walked together. When we got down near the road we call Neddins, we heard the sound of toenails clicking and hitting the road. Oscar rushed out to greet us and was excited to see two of us. He licked and leaped and pranced around and then we all three continued with walking. We reached my turn to go down the boreen and home. Sean was continuing to the cross at the top of the hill. We stood in the sun while we said goodbye. Oscar looked back and forth at each of us. He was torn and he rushed first to me and then to Sean and then to me again. He did not know who to go with. He did not know who would give him the best walk. Finally he decided on Sean who would definitely give him the longer distance. I was glad to watch the decision making process. Oscar is loyal and loves us all. I like to watch him share his love.
15 October Wednesday
The bridge into the village is an ongoing worry. It is an old hump-backed stone bridge. Every so often someone announces that it is about to collapse. Someone always says the bridge will cave in any day now. Ten years ago some work was done underneath it and the report then was that collapse was imminent. We all feel worried for a while each time this discussion comes up. Then we forget about it as we drive or walk over it every day. When the bridge collapses there will be a great many of us who will not be able to get to the village without a very long detour. As the fears build up people discuss the idea of a temporary bridge or of a little boat to take people over the river. Discussions about how we will deal with the collapse of the bridge can keep a lot of people talking for a long time. It is never a matter of IF the bridge collapses. It is always WHEN. I am back in a worrying phase about the bridge. I really do not want to be the one driving over it when it decides to let go. I look forward to forgetting the scary rumours once again.