By Gerry Moran
I stood in out of the rain last week and as I stood there who should I find myself standing beside only an old pal of mine. “Any craic?” he inquires. “None whatsoever,” I tell him. “I heard you were away,” he says.”Who was telling you?” I ask. “Never mind who was telling me but I heard you were in the Big Apple,” he says. “I was.”
“So, any craic in the, in the US of A?”
“At €12 for a glass of beer it was damn hard to have the craic.”
“Jaysus, that’s steep – sure you’d get a pint for that in Temple Bar.”
“And put 20% of a tip on top of that.”
“Good lord, 20%?”
“Yep, 20% is pretty much the going rate over there. Anything less could be considered mean, though you might get away with 15.”
“So, no adventures to speak of – you didn’t bump into Donald while you were strolling down Fifth Avenue?”
And just as we were about to part company I decided to come clean. Actually we did have a bit of an adventure I told him, not in the Big Apple but as we were leaving. In the airport, Newark airport. And it wasn’t so much an adventure as a bit of a nightmare. “Go on, tell me all,” he says.
As my wife and I are about to check in our bags for the seven hour fight across the Atlantic she says: “Will you take the car keys out of the front of your case.”
“I did,” I tell her. “ I took them out when we arrived in Jack’s house.” (Jack is a great friend of ours with whom we were staying).
“And where are the keys now?” my wife asks with just a hint of concern in her voice. “Well, if they’re not in your case or handbag, I assume they’re back in Jack’s house.”
“Gerry, tell me you’re joking.”
“I am not joking. I assumed you picked them up and put them in your handbag.”
And that’s when we flung open our bags and frantically went through them more thoroughly than any airport security personnel could, or would. The keys could not be found! “I don’t believe this,” I hear my wife lament. “You always put them in your handbag,” I say. “Are you blaming me now?’ she almost hisses. “Lord, no.” (Would I dare?). That’s when we phone Jack and, sure enough, the car keys are lying quietly on his kitchen table. Only problem is Jack’s home is two hours away and we are boarding in 50 minutes! We didn’t speak much after that and whoever said: silence was golden obviously never left their car keys behind them in the US while an irate wife (understandably) stares into the distance and contemplates divorce, possibly murder.
The stiff drinks weren’t stiff enough as we pondered our dilemma. We will arrive in Dublin at the ungodly hour of 5.15 am; the spare key to our car (waiting patiently in the short term car park) is lying quietly on a table in our house which is being looked after by our neighbour. After much agonising as to what we should do, we phone our neighbour who very graciously tells us not to worry that he’ll drive up with the spare key. He didn’t say when and for sure we didn’t ask when – we were just thrilled that the spare key would arrive and no doubt after numerous cups of coffee in Dublin airport we could drive home.
Meanwhile, when we arrived in Dublin, not long after 5am, my wife discovers that a bus leaves for Kilkenny at 6 am. She hops on (at least one of us will arrive home reasonably early) as I wait for the spare key which my good neighbour delivers around 6.30 am (and, by God, but good neighbours are a blessing; we’re forever in your debt, Denis).
“So,” says my old pal, “all’s well that ends well.”
“Not quite,” I tell him. Due to the icy weather, and a road accident, didn’t the bus get stalled somewhere outside of Comer and my unfortunate missus was left waiting for almost an hour for a replacement bus to Kilkenny.
“And that,” I told my man, ‘“s more or less how our American adventure ended – on a slippery road outside Comer!”
“Jesus,” he says, “sure you couldn’t make it up.”