Our Summers seemed to last forever. I remember the neighbourhood kids calling to our front door not for any of us, oh no, for my father who would throw buckets of water from the bedroom window and tell them to “Feck off now and play, can’t ye”. They kept calling back, much to his annoyance. We tried to explain why they kept calling but he would just get more annoyed and fill a bigger bucket.” I’ll teach ‘em” he’d say as the doorbell rang. “Now action Jackson, answer it now” he’d laugh as he’d unlock the window. Action Jackson was my older brother L, he was forever climbing and he was a Michael Jackson fanatic, he had the ‘moonwalk’ down to a fine art. Looking back now, my dad knew exactly what he was doing, he was the biggest kid in our house.
All our close friends never ever dared ring our doorbell. They would try the handle, pray it was open and come right on in. They knew better than to call on a Sunday, for that was the day we were all kicked out for the best part of the day. My dad is a GAA madman. GAA is our national sporting organisation here in Ireland, it is made up of counties playing each other in Hurling and Gaelic football. GAA is to my dad what alcohol is to an alcoholic.
If any friend rang the doorbell, they only ever did it the once. Dad would come flying out, “What are ya ringing the bell for? huh, huh?”. Obviously the poor child would answer, telling him who they were calling for. ” Don’t ring my doorbell next time, the door is always open amock, come on, come on, Pud’s the red haired one is here for ya. What’s your name, where do you live?”, he’d bend down to the child, his face inches away, from theirs. If it were near Hallowe’en, he’d pop out his false teeth, just to get a reaction. (We learned quickly, not to bring a new friend around in October) This was always a make or break for us. Either this new found friend would find dad amusing or they’d never call again.
Luckily, we each have great friends who, like us, appreciate, what are now known as ‘Willie-isms’.
Here are just a few~
“If there is a panic, let it be organised, can’t ye”
“Run, run, come on come” – so you obviously run, only to be met with “What’s the bloody running for, where’s the fire, Jesus!”
“Work to the music, put your back into it, can’t ya”- this was normally when you were doing your weekly chores, dad would have Elvis or the Beatles blasting from the Hi-Fi system. ((remember hi-fi’s?!!!))
“Is my name Vincent?” – I’ve used this one below in my little story!
“In the honour of fuckin’ Jayous, can’t ye pretend ye get along”- normally when we had visitors coming, this was part of our motivational speech.
“The curse of fuck down on top of ya”- he was very mad when he used this one, we’d run in all directions, fast.
I remember bringing my new found friend home from school with me, I would have been 14 years old. I had warned Sinead, told her my dad is a messer and will ask you fifty questions, I assured her I would not leave her long alone with him and his questions. We walked in the door.
“This is Sinead dad”. “Hello, Sinead, would you like a cup of tea?” “Yes please” she smiled. “Well,ah girlie, here’s the kettle,here’s the fridge, sugar is there. I’ll have a half cup and two sugars, and make a cup for yourself” I laughed, “Ah stop dad, will ya”. Sinead was filling the kettle. “Don’t mind him Sinead, I’lll do that, sit down” I could have killed him. But, he was not finished yet.” The downstairs toilet has a box in it Sinead” he started. I rolled my eyes, here we fucking go.” You have to put 20 pence in the box before you can use the toilet roll, there’s too many kids here ya see, and all their friends, sure I’m not Vincent, ya know” ( Vincent De Paul is a charity that help the less fortunate ) He started laughing when he realised Sinead was believing him,” I’m only codden ya loveen. Tell me, do you watch the GAA?”.Always on his list of questions.” I do indeed Willie” Sinead was a huge GAA fan, having seven children of his own, not one of us watch the GAA, my dad, there and then adopted Sinead. She was from that moment on the ‘GAA Girl’een’, even on her wedding day!