Tralee Life Life In An Irish Town


Rocket Man

It is such a beautiful clear wintry Sunday morning here in Ballyard. As Lisa said this morning ‘it’s one of those days that you are glad to be alive.’ My answer was that I’m glad to be alive every day but I know where she was coming from with the sentiment. It’s one of those days where you can forget all your troubles for a while; pack em up in your old kit bag and smile boys smile.

In fact it has been a trouble free week. Fred put down another good five days at school; no confusion or sick tummy as an excuse to come home. Though come Friday morning it was difficult to get him out of the bed and he came out with one of those difficult to answer in a good way questions...

“But why do I have to go to school Dad?” he asked, rubbing the sleep from his eyes.

“Because you have to,” was all I could think to say.

“But why?”

There wasn’t any gain in pointing out the lifelong blessing of a good education at that hour of a wintry morning so I went with bribery...

“If you go this morning you won’t have to go tomorrow,” I said, “and you can stay up late tonight.”

“Ok my Dad,” he said stepping off the last stair before putting on his slippers and shuffling to the kitchen.

I watched him go. Our beautiful boy who’ll be twelve in January, walking tall and proud into the kitchen for his breakfast. The struggles he’s had and will have would daunt anyone but he’s taken them on the chin and got on with life.

On Wednesday Fred announced he needed a haircut and Lisa took him to the barbers Thursday afternoon. I wouldn’t dare, as I can’t even get my own hair cut, going completely tongue tied when asked what style I want. For the last eight years I’ve being going to the same hairdresser and each time I just say “whatever you think, you know best.” In fairness to Magda she is the hairdresser and always does a great job, leaving me to browse the latest fashion magazines, while the women chat around me. If I took Fred to a barber he’d come home with a pudding bowl cut or something worse. Thankfully the barber here in Tralee did a great job and made our man look beautiful. Later on I saw him looking in the mirror, checking the style and swishing the hair to the side. He’s growing up all right.

During the summer Fred and I used to look at the stars before going to bed. This habit dropped off as the cold nights came in. On Thursday night Fred announced he was going outside for a walk. On went the jacket, his boots and he found a torch in the drawer. It was about 8 O’clock and I was settled reading a magazine, in no mood for a walk. Off he went and came back about ten minutes later. You feel the cold off him but he didn’t seem to mind.

“I saw the stars and the half moon,” he said.

“Where did you go?”

“Oh just here and there.”

Santa might be bringing Fred a telescope.

The arrival of Santa or the waiting for the arrival of Santa is driving Fred crazy.

“Why is Santa taking so long?” he said in bed one night.

“That’s the joy of Christmas,” I said.

“Well he’s driving me mad.”

Between school and waiting for Christmas it’s been a tough week for Fred, though one of the best for us.Through it all he’s been flying through his homework, impressing his mother with his reading and despite misgivings having a great time with Denise, Ms O’Se and Ms O’Connor; all three commenting on how much he has come on lately. ‘The Science Man’ came on Tuesday and they had a great time setting off rockets in the yard, whatever actually was going on I never did discover.

Waiting for Santa though and firing off rockets at school.

Now that’s a proper childhood.




Posted by John Verling

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