Dia is Mhuire díobh go léir a chairde, and welcome to my weekly report.
The first half of Monday was like a real touch of spring. I’m glad that I took advantage of it to out in the garden and indeed found plenty to do which I thoroughly enjoyed. Even in Summer I’m not a one to sit out, not for very long anyway until I see a weed or something that needs my attention. This time I was surprised to find the runners of the Virginian Creeper were gone way up the wall and not a leaf on them. If left to their own devises they’d have the neighbours and all covered before long. Needless to say they had to be brought down to earth because their season doesn’t come until the autumn . All the other plants in the garden must get their chance before then. The little cheeky robin accompanied me all the whole time, almost striking into me now and then before landing on a nearby branch to sing it’s heart out for me. Lucky for me that I went out in the forenoon because later the heavens opened.
This is Shrive Tuesday and we’re looking forward to feasting ourselves on pancakes. Pancakes have changed a lot with the passage of time. When we were young a pancake was a pancake. Made by mixing a batter of plain flour and milk fried in the frying pan which was greased with butter, sprinkled with sugar and rolled over into your plate. Today there is a wide range of ways with pancakes and they’re not always confined to Shrove Tuesday. Some people enjoy them at breakfast, filled with anything from eggs, rashers, tomatoes and so on. Calling them crepes they can be bought in the shop warmed up and rolled around your favourite savouries but for me personally there is nothing like the fine wholesome homemade pancake fried in butter and doused with lemon and sugar or maybe maple syrup. Yum. The thought helps to block out of the mind, the six weeks of Lent that follows, finishing with Easter Sunday on April 5th.
We will really miss our trip to the Church on tomorrow Wednesday for our Blessed Ashes. It’s the first time in my life that it has happened, and if we can’t get to the church to pick some up then so be it. Being brought up strictly in the Catholic religion you accept all these rituals as part of what it is to be a Catholic. I suppose it’s the same with any religion, they all have their rules or being a member of anything a football team has its rules and if they’re not obeyed then you’re not left on. When we were young we thought it funny to get the black spot on the forehead, the words that the priest said didn’t really sink in. Then as time went on we changed and took it more seriously. Early on the words were said in Latin but with the passage of time like lots of other things it was changed to English . Remember man thou art but dust and into dust you shall return. I’m not sure if I got this right on Sunday but I think that what Canon John said was that while applying the holy ashes we say “Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel”. ( Did I get that right).
I love the old photos that are appearing on our website/ Especially those of people seeing again those that we knew so well and getting a kick out of seeing them again. On looking at the Millstreet football team which is on at the moment I was struck by the fact that so many of them being siblings or closely related, with the Kellehers (Brokers) plus Cormac Dinneen forming almost half, with the O’Leary brothers, Dan and William, and the Corcorans Con and John forming other connections. It couldn’t be done today. Other pictures showing a few people standing at a door talking , or perhaps not but savouring the companionship. A tranquil scene. Keep them coming.
I got the shock of my life last week when Paddy Murphy landed a message on my phone, on opening I was indeed dismayed to find that he had put a video to my song about Millstreet Town. Last Spring I was one of the many people that he asked for songs. His aim is to record songs that were in danger of being lost, which is a very important thing today. For example he got some lovely songs from Breda Tarrant a few short weeks before she passed away and they are played on Sundays by Sean Radley on his wonderful request program on Cork Music Station, CMS and are enjoyed by all. Paddy has his own website, soundcloud.com Go there and sample his ever growing collection of great entertainment.
His video of my song takes me back and back. I wrote it back in the glory days of the rise of Noel C and the Green Glens. There was some new challenge every day and we met them head on, because great things were happening and we all wanted to help and be part of it. You could be asked to do anything and you did because it was for the good of Millstreet. I can’t remember what was coming up, it wasn’t EuroVision, because I wrote another one for that, but the committee launched a song competition a song in praise of Millstreet and having the gra for it I took it on board. Writing especially composing rhyme is a funny thing, once you put your mind to a certain subject it sinks in and even at times when you’re not thinking of it, it can come to you and that is the moment to jot it down or it will go forever. In this case for me it was the tune and it hit me inside at second Mass on a Sunday, I can still see the church, full of people like it used to be back then. I can see what they’re wearing ,I can still feel it. ‘Oh where there’s laughter in the breeze, where there’s love in every breeze, where the strains of life will never get you down, Oh let me live my life in peace, let me end my days with ease, with the people that I love in Millstreet Town.’ With that as chorus on paper and the air in my head, I sallied forth to write the verses. Life was great, I was driving the bus at the time and mixing with young people every day, kept me feeling young and light hearted. Inspiration would come flooding as I negotiated the twists and turns of Kilcorney and hills of Aubane but I’d have to make a fast note of it when I stopped to let a child on or off. In no time I had the verse about Clara mountain, Drishane, etc and another about the Lake and water fall, We were always singing in the bus at home time or some like Timmy Lehane and Seamus Buckley brought their accordions and we’d have a choice of entertainment to shorten the road. The sounds of music drowning out the rattling of our rickety old 45 seater bus, with 83 on board. The air of my song was jaunty enough for the crowd to sing, so sometimes instead of something like ‘Old McDonnell had a Farm’, we’d sing my song. It hadn’t gone on for long when my brave young charges complained, they said that I had not verse about Aubane. They wanted Aubane to have it’s place. Well says I , I’ll soon fix that and so the verse about Aubane was born and they were delighted. And looking at Paddy’s piece on Aubane today, what a loss it would be if it wasn’t there.
I think I tied for first place in the competition, but as I was a member of the committee, it would look bad to give the prize to one of their own and that was that. The song was put away and rarely heard of again until Paddy Murphy came along in the Spring of 2020 looking for talent new and old, so this was my contribution to his collection. Little did I think that he would infuse life into it and give real meaning to the words for which I want to say a sincere word of thanks.. I hope it will bring some joy to those who see it if it does, then that will be my reward.
Children are gone all high tech nowadays, nothing seems impossible at the touch of a button or an app. But the imagination can still overtake them in a few ways, like one of our four-year-olds who was playing with a box recently. She really was too big to fit into it, and in frustration she said , Nana have you an app on your phone to make me small.
It won’t be as easy to get the lemons and other stuff for making the pancakes today or pick up some thing nice in the shop. We took life so for granted, everything was possible to us. We don’t like it but maybe it’s good for us to taste a bit of self control in our lives. Make us appreciate things more.
Due to my age I am in line for the next phase of the vaccine jab. I’ve heard no more since I was informed about three weeks ago that I was a candidate. It will be another piece of history in the making a new remedy for a new disease and we are part of it.
In the meantime let us get all we can out of our present situation, days are getting longer and the birds are busy searching for places to build their nests. Always lovely to watch them as they do their work. We are blessed that we can get Mass streamed from our own church or from any church in the world for that matter. Let us make full use of the phone to ring our friends or ring someone who is feeling alone even see them on facetime. Modern tech is not confined to the young anymore. Sean Radley will send messages to your friends in any part of the world on Sundays after 11.30 Mass if you tune in to him on CMS and he’s there for us tonight on the same place from 9.30 to 11. With a mixed bag of first class entertainment. Get him on your laptop or iphone. Get friends or family to put an App on your iphone for your favourite programs or radio stations including Sean Radley on CMS.
Children are getting their hopes up for the schools to reopen, as are their longsuffering parents. So much to look forward to as long as we keep the rules for a little bit longer.
Holy Ashes will be available in the church tomorrow morning after 10am Mass.
That’s about it from me, have a good week, Slán.