MORE MENTAL MEANDERINGS
By John O’Hagan – Cattor, was 91 years in 1988
I often walked from Enniskillen home. I seen me walking to the fair in Omagh with Aunty Maggie’s cow and I didn’t sell or walked her home again. I thought nothing of it. When I was married in 1936, you had no running water, no electric. I remember washing out at the sink.
There were nine of us and we’d say the rosary before we’d go on our ceili. I once tried to get in anost to my mother, from a dance. I came through the window but I fell over a chair and the war was on. I remember coming home when my father was rising at five o’clock. We waited until he went down to feed the cows and we went to work, on our bicycles, as though we were rising.
I was working in Fintona this time and I went to get my hair cut after work one evening. The sergeant was in the barber’s and I said, “I’ better go home soon for I have no light.”
He says, “I know that for you’d none last night either.”
It wasn’t like now. You knew the police then and if you didn’t bother them they were grand, but you could be fined five shillings for no light.
Petrol was a shilling a gallon when I had my motor-bike. I never had lights for it either but sure there was no traffic on the road and anyway they’d hear you coming!
Times were hard but the social life compensated. If I waked down to McCarroll’s or took the bike, I might meet half a dozen fellas and we’d sit down and talk.
You went up to Brannigan’s Cross and there’d be a half dozen there. It would be the same down at Eskra Bridge. There’d be maybe two dozen pitchin’ pennies and the crack would be good. If there was a dance somewhere you’d all head off together.
Ah now! If there wasn’t a dance, you’d find out where there was a wake. No matter whether you knew the people concerned or not, what odds! There’d be a good gatherin’. We’d all go. We played games and threw clods at each other. There was far more fun than there is now.
Maggie, Johnny and Packie ‘Toy’ lived up the road there, where the Sheridan has the place now. It was a great house for dancing. The girls got tea but the lads got none.
One night Jimmy, Arthur Packie and I saw Maggie put a big oven of rice under the dresser and I knew it wasn’t for us. I knew where the spoons were and I got them and lined up four or five boys and we took turns about at the rice. Maggie came switchin’ up later in the night to get the rice for the ladies in the room but the oven was empty. She was going to put us out.
Sure, we took scones of bread out of Marlowes with a pitchfork. The room windy was open and we reached in from the outside with a pitchfork, stabbed the bread and took it out. You couldn’t expect the people who were running the dance to feed everyone. We never done any criminal acts, it was all harmless fun.
1 post • Page 1 of 1