There was thunder and lightening today…which brought me back to a childhood memory…
The thunder rolled..we ran. The long grass wet our skinny legs, as our grazed knees wobbled trying hard to keep up with the older kids. “Come on before the lightening starts!” Queen ordered from over her shoulder. Thunder and lightening were truly the only thing that could ever get Queen to break out into a sprint, to this day she hates it.
The sky grew darker. “All of ye come to our house” Queen sprinted off, opening our garden gates as we followed, seconds behind. Our father opened the door. “Come on, come on, come on, can’t ye… what’s the panicking for?”( see my earlier blog entitled “My Irish childhood~raised by Willie-isms” to understand this!),he asked as we rushed passed him. “Wipe your feet, Jayous Christ Almighty” he closed the door.
“Hang on, hang on” dad scanned the hallway, counted heads. “Jayous, did ye bring the neighbourhood?! Haven’t ye your own homes to go to?!” he rolled his eyes. “Go on, go on into the sitting room and stay away from the win-da, can’t ye” he ushered all 15 children into the room. He spotted him then.
“Hi Willie” he smiled,exposing his upcoming tooth fairy visit.
Let me tell you, my dad is great with kids, he was loved by the neighbourhood kids but, but he was an absolute fecker for messing and embarrassing you ~
“Holy Moly. What are you doing here Shane! Your house is across the feckin’ street. Go home will ya!”They all laughed. “Shane get over into that corner there away from the win-da, will ya” Dad pointed at Mucker to move his friend. Mucker guided Shane over to the furtherest corner of the room,away from the window.
Dad,perched at the very window we were warned away from,watching the Summer storm
“Willie.Willie” Sheree, Shanes older sister interrupted.”Do we all have to go into the corner or is it just Shane?”. “Just Shane, the rest of ye sit on the couch or the floor”,dad answered while counting in between the flashes. “Oh…Why?” Sheree looked at my father, her eyes narrowed. Each of my siblings rolled their eyes, except for Queen who was rocking herself back and forth beside Shane. We shook our heads, knowing our father was about to make a holy show of us. “No reason” Mucker tried to prevent dad from answering.
“No reason! It’s thundering and lightening, and you guys bring Shane, SHANE of all kids into the house. I’ve the dogs going crazy with it, barking like mad and ye decided that wasn’t enough. Ye, ye’d bring Shane in!” Our father turned away from the window,glancing at the room full of confused faces. ” Dogs attract the thunder while red heads attract the lightening..Shane has feckin’ red hair! RED hair! He has bright RED hair!” he threw his hands in the air, as if these were commonly known facts.
“Do I? Do I really bring lightening to me?!” Shane jumped up. “Thats so cool Willie” Shane smiled. “Will I run across now and tell mammy?”.Dad looked out the window, “Okay, now Shane run, run amock, run, quick before you bring the lightening down on top of us all!!” Shane bolted out the front door , we all ran to the window to watch Shane run into his house,wondering if the lightening would strike his glowing red hair, his voice roaring “Mammy, mammy…MAMMY guess what?!
My father began to laugh. “Is that true Willie?” Sheree asked while the other kids started a new nickname for poor Shane, “Red lightening Shane”. Suddenly the room went quiet, everyone wanted to hear the answer. “‘Tis of course Sheree. Would I lie?” he bent down so she could see his hazel eyes.
The sun began to fight through the clouds, “Go on now, can’t ye. Out and play. Go on now” he opened the door as we all filed out, all wondering had Shane and his red hair some sort of power over lightening, or worse still, if Shane was with you, would the lightening get you?
For two whole years,I believed dogs and red heads attracted both the thunder and the lightening. Many times,I had run off on my red headed friends as soon as the first rumble of thunder rolled through the clouds. It was only when I refused to let ‘Trixie’, our beloved terrier, into the house, did my father tell me he was only “coddin”~ poor Shane was ‘Red lightening Shane’ for far longer than my gullible two years…
**Coddin- slang for messing,joking, taking the piss!