Monday, 10 May 2021

Things That Happen 8: Feckin' Nuns


Nuns! Feckin' nuns... they were everywhere when we were kids.

You went into 'town' with your mother... feckin' nuns on the bus in, nuns in the park, nuns at school ... and waltzing around the streets when you got there in their long black and white flowing frocks like swans. Their necks primed and up straight, listening and waiting to prey upon us.
Stephen's Green and Trinity College... oh... they liked walking around the big snazzy places.
I was three before I found out I didn't live in feckin' Rome or the Vatican. I was convinced me dad wasn't me da and I was a religious love-child of some sort.
It wasn't the Garda we were afraid of in the streets in Dublin City... it was the nuns!

"Ma... can we get an ice cream? I'm hungry and hot."
"Jesus, Holy Mary and Joseph... will you keep your voice down, child!"
"Did you not see two nuns walking in front of us? What will they think of us."
"That we're hungry and want ice cream?"
"Ah... Jesus, child... no. Just that we're., ye know ... a bit above our station and... like nice sweet things.... without appreciation and that sort of stuff without an act of contrition."
"I still want an ice cream and a stick of contrition if it's made of chocolate."
"I'll get you a fuckin' frozen Gollywog ice cream when we get off the bus on the way home."
"Is Da not picking us up from town today?"
"No, not today."


A while later...

"I want a Chocolate Sundae from the American Connection Bar!"
"What! That's a communion treat and only for good boys who make their proper communion. You have two years to wait, yet"
"Dad brought me in for one a few weeks ago when we went into Hector Greys. and I got me racy cars."
"Oh... he did, did he?"
I got me Gollywog when we got off the bus.
A year later I discovered three of me ma's relations were all nuns. They came to visit our house. We all sat in silence. A sort of homage to history and the past. There was no ice cream. Me da was very quiet that day. I had a tantrum and pissed me pants.

"You alright, Mam?"
"You sure?"
"Feckin' nuns!"
"Feckin' nuns... Jesus, you can't escape anywhere.... the two of them... together on the right side."
"No ice cream so, when we get to New York?"
"Oh... don't you worry, my son... there'll be fuckin' loads of ice cream and Chocolate Sundaes."
"Thanks, Mam."

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