John O'Hagan's Mental Meanderings, Cont'd.

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John O'Hagan's Mental Meanderings, Cont'd.

Post by jj.mccarroll »

By John O’Hagan – Cattor, at age 91

If you ‘gat a girl’ at a dance you’d take her home on the bar o’ the bike. I mind too, when you’d go to the hall to a dance the girls stayed on one side and the boys were on the other. You would seldom have married couples at dances then. Wanst you got married you stayed at home. And to quote another storyteller, ‘the wife was kept barefoot and pregnant’.
James Kavanagh would take us in his oul’lorry to the dances an odd time. Many’s a good dance we had in Paddy Farrell’s and Joe Lynch’s, Glencull.
I remember us coming home at daylight and the creamery cans would be left out on the milk stands for the milk collection. We’d take the lid off and fill it with milk and drink it – anybody’s milk, we were starving. Many’s a time we went into a field and ate raw turnips. They were good for you. Aye, and raw carrots too. We must have robbed every orchard in the country – apples, plums, gooseberries, anything. You’d usually be chased out of the orchards.
I still eat plenty of fruit and vegetables and can cycle to the Post Office for my pension. The food today is different and there’s too much fertilizer used in the soil. We used to spray the spuds wanst and that was all. They talk now about the dangers of the frying pan. Well, I can tell you this, the pan was on all the time, everyday. You killed your own pig, ye see, and fried the bacon. There was plenty of fat and you fried the cabbage in it. The carrots, turnips all was fried. All vegetables were home grown.
I remember having potatoes for my breakfast and porridge for supper. Indian meal porridge was a treat and a change from oaten meal. Of course it was served with buttermilk.
There was a big pot of porridge made here in the evening for the supper and there were two old men called Jim McAtee and Tom Donnelly. They’d come here at night. Doors were never locked that time and we could lie in bed and hear the two oul comin’ in. Then you’d hear the pot lid coming off. They’d take a bowl of porridge each and go home. They lived alone and wouldn’t have any supper. We knew this and would make extra for them.

You heard of tramps, and [that was what] we called them. An old fella called Sherry came from Aghafad. I remember his old green hat. He’d come here for his tea and he’d move on.
There was another by the name of Doherty and he was called ‘Paddy Duck Egg’. He’d stay the night. He’d strip and lie down in the straw in the shed. He’d get his breakfast and head off the next morning.
They just traveled on, going from house to house. You got to know them because they’d return regularly, maybe five or six times a year. They were harmless old men.
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