John B Keane: Train a pain when you cannot dine at supper time

I KNOW a woman whose husband works in England.

I KNOW a woman whose husband works in England.

The wife lives in Ireland. In July of last year, he wrote for his birth certificate. She replied asking him why he wanted it.

He wrote again to say that he had pulled all his upper teeth, but that he wouldn’t be able to get false teeth until he produced his birth certificate.

The unexpecting wife sent on the birth certificate, but her mother grew suspicious. She made inquiries and discovered that her son-in-law was sharing a flat with another woman, a small, thin English woman with blonde hair.

It transpired that the birth certificate was used for a second marriage. The moral of this little story is never send your husband a birth certificate if he tell you he wants it for false teeth.

Is there any way of punishing those miscreants who commit bigamy? There is the law of the land, of course, but no decent woman will report to it. If she has any sense she’ll fold her arms and say good riddance. On the credit side it should be remembered that a man who has two wives has also two mothers-in-law.

Speaking about desertions. On the train from Limerick Junction to Dublin a few weeks ago, I found myself sitting beside a stout woman who asked me the time from time to time.

We started a conversation, during the course of which she told me that she had left her husband and was living with another man, a van driver in Dublin. She had been in Limerick to see her mother. I asked her why she had left her husband?

“Only for there being such a crowd on the train” she said, “I’d show you the marks on my back after him.”

I sympathized and asked if she was a victim of beatings.

“He wouldn’t beat his shadow” she said scornfully. I asked if she was the victim of a knife attack. She explained.

“His toenails,” she told me, “he refused to cut them, and at night in the bed when I was asleep he used to warm his toes against my back. I was ripped asunder. At first I thought it was fleas, but then I found out it was the nails. He refused to cut them, so I gave him the road.”

Her present partner, the van driver, is many years older than her, but he is a good husband. He washes his feet every night, cuts his toenails and then files them.

“Most of the time” she informed me, “you wouldn’t know he was in the bed.”

Lest I forget. I should mention that train on which I was travelling was overcrowded. In the carriage where I was unlucky enough to be seated, there was no heating.

In addition to there being no heating, there was no dining car and there was no bar. I consider this to be quite disgraceful, and it confirms a belief I have held for some time, ie., there is something serious the matter upstairs in C.I.E. They tend to suit themselves rather than the customer.

When I asked the conductor why there wasn’t a bar or a dining car, he told me that there never was any on that particular train, as if that explained everything.

Everybody in this country has supper between the hours of five and seven, everybody that is except those unfortunate people who take the five o’clock train from the Junction on Sundays.

I should say, in all fairness, that groundfloor service, when it is available is second to none. Dining car staff, barmen and conductors have no equals in any other service in this country. It is a pity that they should be let down by inconsiderate planning. This utter callousness for the comfort of customers is not going to make C.I.E any new friends.

Rung Birds

It’s amazing the things you hear and see if you are prepared to pay attention

In a pub in Tarbert a bare week ago, I was watching the racing results on television, when the publican invited me to meet a friend of his from the neighbourhood.

At first I was annoyed, but as time progressed I realised that I was talking to a very unusual individual. It was his express wish that there should be no mention of his name. For the purpose of our narrative, however, we will call him Pat.

Apparently Pat never married, for the good reason that he could not choose between two women both of whom are since happily married with large families. In his heyday Pat went to dances all over Clare and Kerry and Limerick, and made friends wherever he went.

“A woman” he confided to me, “needs to be timed and loved, no more.”

But let us hear why Pat is so unusual. Whenever he courted a woman, whether it be in Clare, Kerry or Limerick, it was a Dany’s Circus court, one night, and on night only, that is until he fell in love at a later date with two women he couldn’t choose between.

With these carly woman he had a system. He would give them each a present of a cheap bracelet with his name and address on it.

Sometimes he would attach the bracelet to the wrist and sometimes to the ankle, much the same way as an ornithologist rings birds.

A few weeks would pass and Pat would have a letter from some village or town stating that one of the birds he had ringed had shown up there of a Sunday night.

A few of these rung birds would show up week nights as well, and some would put in an appearance at a dance every single night of the week.

He classed these last birds as real flyers, and he figured if he should offer his nest to one of them they would spend very little time there. Time passed, and there came no sightings or reports of the two women he fell for.

These were stay-at-homes he figured, and because of this they would make good wives. His tragedy was that he couldn’t make up his mind between them.

I asked him if he ever put rings on women these days.

“No,” he said, “the birds these days would not stand for it.”

Dancehall refusals

A NUMBER of young schoolgirls to whom I have spoken since Christmas are adamant that they will avoid dancehalls in future. One girl gave as her reason for refusing a fellow a dance was that he was convicted of assault a few times, and another girl refused because she was afraid of the fellow’s appearance.

Now the first girl was quite right, not because the young man was convicted of assault, but because it’s a free country The second girl was quite right for the same reason. A girl can refuse whoever she likes and any management which says otherwise is bluffing. Why should a sensitive young girl have a dance with an aggressive young thug?

These girls paid good money to enter the dancehall. They paid it so that they could enjoy themselves, and not to gratify the impulses of drunks, bullies and punks. They, and nobody else have the right to say who they will dance with. Some managements maintain that girls must dance with those who ask them.

This is morally and legally wrong. The managements just haven’t a leg to stand on, and should be brought before the courts for making decent young girls do something against their wills.

So girls, if you don’t like the look of him don’t dance with him. The choice is yours and if anybody says otherwise just refer them to your parents or to the nearest Garda Síochana.

Goat machine

AND NOW for the hottest news since the nuns were let loose. It concerns goats and people who are interested in goats.

As everybody knows, Sonny Canavan, of Dirha West, Listowel, has the largest herd of goats in this country, despite the fact that frequent raids are made on it, and valuable goats stolen from time to time.

There was a time when goats could be bought for a few shillings, but with goatskin bodhrans fetching from eight to fifteen pounds, according to their quality, a goat is almost as valuable as a sheep.

The news is that Sonny Canavan has invented a milking machine for goats. It works perfectly and can be manufactured for half nothing.

I am not at liberty to give anything else away until the machine is patented.

All I will add is this. The goat industry in this country will never be the same again.

Just for the record, the Dirha West herd now number sixty one, goats and kids, not counting Rajah and Sulton, the senior and junior pucks.