Saturday, 14 May 2016

The Birthday

Last Thursday, on May 12th, I had an unexpected call from a lovely lady, Ethel Walsh, who lives about a mile from me. Ethel asked if I would like to attend a little celebration the following evening to honour the 80th birthday of her father, Paddy Power.

I have known Paddy for more than 60 years and always held him in high esteem. We would not meet very often, as is the way with the world, but would concur on many matters of public interest.

On yesterday's pleasant May evening, after a hot sunny day, I attended a grand ceremony in Grangemockler Church, administered by Fr. Gear, with beautiful singing by Mala Ragget accompanied by organist Tony Egan. I stood outside the Church afterwards and greeted Paddy for a short while as he had many wanting to shake his hand. I also greatly enjoyed meeting a lady, whom I have always held in high regard, Nonie Freaney, who maintains the old pub tradition in nearby Nine-mile-house.

Maybe the following poem would somehow be appropriate for the occasion:
The Light of Other Days 
Oft in the stilly night
Ere slumber's chain has bound me,
Fond memory brings the light
Of other days around me:
The smiles, the tears
Of boyhood's years,
The words of love then spoken;
The eyes that shone,
Now dimmed and gone,
The cheerful hearts now broken!
Thus in the stilly night
Ere slumber's chain has bound me,
Sad memories bring the light
Of other days around me.
         
When I remember all
The friends so link'd together
I've seen around me fall
Like leaves in wintry weather,
I feel like one
Who treads alone
Some banquet-hall deserted,
Whose lights are fled,    
Whose garlands dead
And all but he departed!
Thus in the stilly night
Ere slumber's chain has bound me,
Sad memory brings the light
Of other days around me. 
— Thomas Moore

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