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I like to write and I like to party, but mostly just the writing. Disclaimer: A lot of these stories are true ones. The memory of growing-up in and around Killybegs. When you hold a mirror up to small communities, sometimes there are those who don't like the reflection. Capote knew this only too well. If you find the refraction just a little too much and would like the angle of incidence changed in your favor, please email me at georgevial@hotmail.com and I will be happy to make a name change here or there.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Dad's Watch

At 14 St. Cummins Hill there was a new brown wooden door. It replaced the green one, with the flaky paint and the rotten sides. Inside the door was the cabinet. Some of the glass in the front was broken, but not dangerous enough to keep us from exploring its contents. It held my christening mug, the one that called me ‘Charles,’ even though my name was George, my brother had one too with his own name and my sister’s was an owl with an egg-cup.

There were rings in there too, but nobody ever wore them and the silver set’s function was too expensive for our life, so it just tarnished in the cabinet, but Mum did use the pickled onion bowl for an ashtray.

Dad kept his watches in the cabinet too. Derek and I liked the big black and green diving one. It glowed in the dark and at night we would take it under the blankets and watch the second hand tick by. Derek was allowed to wear it to school once and everyone liked it a lot. I wanted to wear it too, but I was too young. You must learn a lot about wearing a watch in just one year.

When the summer came, it was hot and we were allowed to cycle our bikes to Fintra Beach with Shane and Brian McCourt. They were our best friends. They were from Northern Ireland and a lot of people did not like them because of this, but I liked them more than anyone in the whole world. Their mom was very nice, but Tommy, their father, scared me. He was always nice to us, but someone said he was involved with the IRA and I knew from the ITN News at 5:45, the one my Dad called the Bad News at 5:45, that they were mean and so too were the UDA, the other letters they fought against.

Some days we didn’t cycle our bikes and we walked all the way from the McCourt’s house to Fintra. At the Glenlee crossroads the wee road hit the main road to Carrick and we could hitchhike from there. We were good about walking in single file cause my mother always made us do that and we were trusted to go places by ourselves when we were safe and careful. If we didn’t get a lift to the beach with some tourist or generous local person, which we usually didn’t, we knew a shortcut if the tide was out.

It was over at the sinking sand, where the little golf course ended and the beach began. There was one house down the road, I use to think the three bears lived in that house, but they didn’t, and there was something of an old bridge that went half way out across the sinking sand, over at the channel. The bridge didn’t go anywhere now, but one time Brian said it went all the way across and erosion had taken it away. Shane and Brian knew a lot of facts and we always went exploring to find out if they were real.

Since the bridge didn’t go all the way across you had to put on your shorts and wade across the channel for about twenty feet or so, depending on the tide.

This one day the tide was not out too far and I had taken Dad’s diving watch from the cabinet without asking cause I wanted to show-off in front of the McCourts and another boy called Bernard, who was a friend of Brian and Derek’s. His father owned one of the pubs in town, but he was English and not many people liked him either. The biggest reason I wore the watch was too see how it looked under water, but I was afraid of getting it wet.

I put it in my shoe while we waded across the channel. When we got to the other side it was not in my shoe and I got scared. I made everyone help me look for it cause I was afraid of my Dad. Derek was mad at me and said I was in deep trouble. I made him promise he wouldn’t tell. He said he wouldn’t but I was still scared.

We didn’t find it and I wasn’t able to enjoy the beach at all. It worried me and I felt sick. Derek didn’t tell Dad when we got home and I never mentioned it again to anyone. A week or more passed before Dad started shouting “What little fucker’s lost my watch?” We kept silent and eventually his anger went away. I would have been angry too, the watch was the best one in the world and its second hand glowed as it ticked in the dark at night under the blankets.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

George, my friend. thanks for a forgotten memory and a late night laugh. P.S. the letters were a bit off, but close.

Brian Mc Court