Drawing of the book cover Water Under the Railway Bridge by Bill Gerty

22 My Thoughts



People often say to me "You must have missed the radio and television", how could we! We never had any, we made all our entertainment and I could say that I was never bored, there was always something to do. On long winters nights people sat around the fire telling stories, dancing or playing musical instruments and I enjoyed walking miles on a nice frosty day. In the fishing season there was one place I loved to go to and that was a place called the Copy, it was between Ballymagovern and Newtowngore on the Woodford river, this river ran between Garadice lake and Ballymagovern lake. Sitting there at five in the morning was heaven on earth catching Bream. The last of the moon and stars were giving way to the first rays of the rising sun how delicate and wonderful the sky appears on a clear morning, the river which was a dark grey colour has now changed into a light blue flecked with silvery white. The sun god in all his glory is now sailing on the pearly clouds and from the stately trees that raised their heads to the hues of the morning sky comes the call of the early birds to herald the dawning of another new day. Everything is peaceful until seven o'clock when the farm on the other side of the bank decides to wake up and bring the cows in for milking. The colours of the sky however are too good to last and by the time the sun is riding in splendour over the hill tops the last hues becoming ever fainter, passing into oblivion. Most of the houses are now awake and the air is tinged with a blue haze of rising smoke from the chimneys. It is now time for me to pick up my catch and head homeward as the best of the day is over. I suppose that if you asked a scientist about the sky and clouds he would tell you that clouds were a kind of vapour that is fog. A poet or an artist however would take a different view of the matter. Many a picture, based on one important object has a cloud as a background while clouds to poets are a matter for inspiration. There is no real beauty in a cloudless sky, clouds, rosy, saffron, golden, or snow-white are a splendour unparalleled. Well, that's my thoughts on the subject.
Katie Smith is getting married and she has asked me if I will take her by pony and trap to Ballyconnell to get some things for her wedding. I have been to their house several times working with her Father Pat so off we go and have a good day out. I enjoyed going to their house as she had a brand new bike and she allowed me to ride on it. I often borrowed their pony Tommy in the Spring when we had a lot of work to do so in return I used to go and help them out especially at harvest time.
Ernest has got a job at Ballyconnell railway station as a porter so he does not get home until after seven each night when we both have a go at playing the fiddle, we have been making progress and can now play. (There is a happy land far far away), I think Auntie Louie wishes that we would go to it some nights, she has not been too happy lately as her best friend Minnie Graham is going to America and we don't think that she will ever return, as most people who make that trip never return just like her own two sisters. There were a lot of tears as Minnie went around the houses saying her goodbyes. Maisie and Muriel are now doing most of the housework along with Vera as Louie has not been in very good health for some time, she has to spend a lot of time in bed although she is only in her early forties. When the doctor finally comes to see her he decided that she should go into hospital.
An ambulance arrives later that day and Louie is taken into hospital. Ernest and me go and see her on a Sunday about a week later, we have to cycle there which takes us a couple of hours. When we are allowed in to see her she looks very ill, she is in a large ward and most of the people in there look just as bad as she is. We stop for a couple of hours and then make our way home, as we cycle along very little is said for we both know there is very little chance she will get better again. The end came a few days later when Uncle Eddie had to go to Ballyconnell to break the news to Ernest. Her death came as a great shock to all around Killyran. When the hearse arrived at Templeport church also known as St. Peter's, Uncle John, Ernest, Uncle Eddie and myself carried the coffin into the Church and out again to her final resting place. It was a large funeral as she was well known to people for many miles around. We all arrived back at Killyran and sat in the kitchen, the place seemed rather empty without Louie, although we all remember some of the beatings we had, especially Muriel who was once beaten with a bunch of nettles, so there was some misgiving about her passing amongst all of us. However I have to say that Grannie and her took all six of us in, along with her son Ernest, and fed and clothed us to the best of her ability so I have to say how many other people would have done that given the same circumstances. None of us can possibly know what strains she may have been under, so for me personally I forgive her. As we sat there in the kitchen Uncle Eddie said that we would all have to pull together to overcome our problems. Vera had now left school and along with Maisie and Muriel were quite capable of doing the housework, while Eddie, John and me would see to all the outdoor work. This worked quite well but George who was now growing up a bit would sometimes wind the girls up, thus causing an argument, which did not last very long.


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