There are ‘famous’ and ‘infamous’ people from our little city of Galway.
Galwegians will happily tell you of our ‘famous’ natives such as actor, Peter O’Toole (RIP) and novelist Walter Macken (RIP) but we are slow to tell you about our ‘infamous’ natives such as Sèamus…if you see a small guy running, move out of the way, I promise you, he isn’t running for health reasons.
Then there’s ‘Warty’ Nora…I’ve lived in Galway all my life and I’m convinced she has yet to change her clothes.
Yesterday I’d to take baby D to the A&E. On a Friday evening, it was the last place I wanted to be but…a bang on his now massive forehead freaked the life out of me. Luckily he is fine, it is nasty but ‘superficial’ according to the lovely doctor and nurse who cleaned it up. So, phew!
We waited a whole half hour before being seen, which, Galwegians will know, is a small miracle in itself, especially it being a Friday and a sunny one at that…the sun is such a rarity here, that if it dares come out on a weekend evening you can bet your last Euro there will be idiots taking over the a&e before the sun sets!
That half hour was slower than waiting on a bus on a miserable winters evening…
We finally found one free seat. My normally shy baby, decided this packed waiting room was a great place to mingle. “HIYA” he roared as I sat him down, sweat pumping, I didn’t look at who he was ‘Hi-ya-ing’ …I was too busy, picking up all the crap I had thrown into his bag before we left. “Sit” I reminded him as I picked up the strewn food, toys and nappies. “Did mammie do that, did she? Oh she baould, ha.ha. ha”.I recognised the dry Galway accent right away. “She baould” she roared while baby D stared at her face. I stood up, face all flush, took the baby and sat down, with our backs to her. Luckily, she was sitting behind us not beside us. Don’t interact with her, I told myself while I tried to get D to look at anything else but her. He struggled to stand on my lap and stare back at her.
I felt her breath on my neck, as she tapped my head repeatedly. ‘Jesus’ I sighed as I moved my head forward, all the while D was staring at her, he was even smiling. “He’d a beauty babo, is’nt he? hahahha, mammie hit you, yes, mammie baould” she chuckled while coughing all over us. She tapped my head again. Her hand brushed passed my face as I saw her yellow stained fingers touch D’s face, I jumped. “Stop. Please” I stood up. The room was watching me, I could feel their eyes on me. I was now their entertainment. Baby D continued to talk to her. She encouraged it, telling everyone that I had hit my baby! I faced her, warts and all, smiled and told baby D to say ‘bye-bye’ as we were going for a walk now. Walk where? No where, just around other sick or injured people sitting all over the waiting area. “Don’t be bate’nn the babo” she roared as the sweat fell from my tomatoey face.
I ignored her, carrying D over to the frosted windows, I sighed as he was wriggling to get free. “Oh look” I pointed out through the sliver of clear glass, at absolutely nothing.He looked for a second.”Down” he demanded. I put him down, took his tiny hand and we strolled around the waiting room. I was begging for his name to be called as we were about to pass ‘Warty’ Nora again. ” Mammmie hit the babo. HA.HA,HA” she repeated as we walked passed. Once again, I changed colour while trying my best to get D to hurry along.
We found a seat a few rows ahead of her and I sat. Taking a ‘rusk’ from his bag I handed to him. “Tan-du” he smiled. I looked at his swollen, bloody forehead and smiled, “You’re as tough as nails, aren’t ya”, something my dad used to say to me, I gently kissed his cheek. “Ya, nummie” he held his rusk up like a trophy.
I could actually smell her before I spotted her. That smell of a million different perfumes with one thing in common…yep, the Euro shop. I tried to remind myself that she is an old woman who means no harm. I looked up and yep, you guessed it, she was now standing over us. “Ahhhh he’d a beautiful babo. God Bless him” she placed her face inches away from us. I could actually see the hairs growing out of all her warts, which at a guess, were between 10-1340000. I pulled back, holding baby D far too close to me for his liking.”Babo give kisses, babo, mammie baould. ha.ha.ha” she almost drooled.
“Baby D” my saviour stood holding a clipboard, “Coming” I roared as I jumped from the chair, (I’m not proud of this bit) nearly knocking a wart or 17 off Nora’s face in the process….yes she was THAT close to us! “Baould mammie hitting the babo.ha.ha.ha” she called after us.
“Nora, stop that now or you’ll have to leave” the nurse replied as she guided us into the admission room. “Are her warts contagious?” I asked, she laughed, “Only if ya lick them” she winked as she began to play with a clearly non judgemental baby D.
I have every intension of telling baby D when he grows up about that one time he almost kissed Nora, warts and all!