Tralee Life Life In An Irish Town


The Tiny Teaspoon Expedition

This week has been one of those for which we long. A normal seven days of nothing much, just doing our jobs and getting on with life. As Ruby was away the house was quiet and when Lisa left us on Thursday it got even quieter. When I say ‘left us’ I mean just to Shannon to collect Rudi, not to her eternal reward, which I’m sure will be great.

Once Fred got used to having the couch to himself he began to miss Ruby. He had a long face on him and was moping around the room...

“What’s up?” I asked.

“I miss my sister,” he said through some fake sobbing but the sorrowful eyes told the true story.

Fred loves his sister and does miss her when she goes away, even if they spend their time bickering when she is around. Nothing unusual in that for families the world over.

As I had dropped the girls down to Waterford late on Sunday evening I stayed over. It was a treat really for me, cooking for the six women in the house and washing it all down with a couple of glasses of wine. That great feeling of relaxation that neither Lisa nor I get too often, knowing Fred is fine and being looked after while you kick back a bit. In the end I must have had more than a glass as I felt decidedly seedy driving home on Monday morning.

We started back at the library on Tuesday. Fred and I had been going regularly but visitors and epilepsy broke the routine recently. The visitors are a more than welcome diversion but not so the epilepsy. Strangely enough Fred picked up the reading again very quickly. Sometimes after he’s been through a bad cluster his memory is completely cleared but not so this time. Though as usual the concentration was poor initially and the idea of Jaden coming over was a distraction. It comes back to what his teachers raised during the year: if Fred knows something is happening in the near future he won’t concentrate on the present. So it was on Tuesday.

The two of us took our little seats at the kids reading table. Fred started on the first page but then stopped and started to look around...

“Fred?” I asked, “Are you ok?”

“What?” he answered.

“Are you ok?” I repeated.

“Yes, but when will collect Jaden?”

I’d made the mistake of saying his best friend could come over. To Fred that meant the countdown was on, that Jaden was due any minute. After a few stalls and stares out the window I had to put my foot down...

“If you don’t stop thinking about Jaden there won’t be any Jaden,” I said as sternly as possible.

“Ok my Dad” was the answer, followed by, “but when is he coming over?”

“What did I just say?”

“Ok my Dad.”

Lisa was out all day and I made an excuse that Jaden was in Listowel, visiting relations... As I had work to do I couldn’t look after the two of them but I promised we’d find him the next day.

Jaden eventually came over on Wednesday. The little man was very quiet in himself and though Lisa asked him, he did want to stay. He didn’t say much, went on his tablet and probably spent more time with Lisa than with Fred. Billy from across the way had his cousin Jack staying over and the two joined Freddie to play battles. Jaden played for a while but was happier inside talking to Lisa and helping to clean the windows. At the end of the evening he wanted to stay longer but it was time for Fred to settle down for the night and Lisa took him home. We suppose he just wanted a quiet time and playing with the kids wasn’t for him that day. Hopefully when he next comes over all will be fine.

On Thursday Lisa left early for Shannon and the two men had the house to themselves. We had a long lazy breakfast before I went to my office to catch up with work. At around midday we went off to the library for more reading. I had promised Fred that if he did well all week there would be a day off on Friday. A promise he didn’t forget...

“Is today the last day?” he asked on the drive over.

After a great session of reading we drove home through town. Lisa rang and I pulled over outside the park to take the call. While I was talking Fred was looking out the window and after I finished he asked if we could go for a walk. Out we got and walked around but not until I gave him a few good swipes of the magnet. It was beautiful. The Rose Garden was in full bloom and Fred loved wandering among the beds, sniffing the different colour blooms. Back in May when the weather turned good Lisa and Fred had had a couple of picnics in the park. I suggested to Fred that we’d come back with Lisa and Ruby for a picnic next week, to which he didn’t seem that bothered. Maybe if Jaden was involved he might had agreed, but then that would be the preoccupation for the next seven days.

Back home we had lunch and I did some more work. Later Fred and I went for a drive but stopped for an ice cream first. Fred brought a tea spoon from home and had it in his pocket walking into the shop. It took him about an hour to choose the right one but back in the car he pulled off the lid and took out the spoon. He was a very quiet boy on the drive, eating the tub spoonful by tiny spoonful until it was all gone. That was why he wanted the spoon and that particular small one too.

After dinner we watched movies and on our way to bed went to look at the stars. There wasn’t much to see as the cloud cover was heavy. Coming back into the house Freddie ran ahead and up to the bedroom.  Once my teeth were washed, I got myself ready for bed. Fred was sitting in the middle of the bed looking worried.

“Dad I got the confusion,” he told me.

In I got, swiped the battery and cuddled him to me. Soon he was calm and it seemed the confusion had passed.

“All that running gave me the confusion, I’m sorry,” he said turning over to his pillow.

We don’t know if running affects his brain but Fred certainly doesn’t have to apologise for anything.

The sweet little man.





Posted by John Verling

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