(Yeah But) You’re You

Everything is connected.

To each other, to everything they see, across time, we connect the dots. Maybe we are the dots. I am definitely a dot.

Sometimes the briefest moment between people, or even a thought , that seemed fleeting or insignificant can return , maybe as a flicker, maybe as a flare.

There’s a lady that helps out at the Monaghan Parkrun very regularly, let’s call her Geraldine…OK, her name is Geraldine. She has a wonderful smile and lifts everyone’s spirits within moments of being in her presence. We had volunteered together on the Parkrun over several Saturdays when eventually I asked if she had a twin sister. She said she did. Then I asked if she had picked raspberries on Jim Murray’s farm in Gola in the 70’s.

“My God ! How did you know that ?” she laughed.

I explained that Jim had been my Mum’s uncle and that we lived in Dundalk then and whenever we visited Uncle Jim we were sent out to help the ‘other kids’ pick the raspberries. I was only 7 or 8 at the time and so was nervous meeting other kids, especially ones from Scotstown. I still remember slightly older twin girls who were kind, smiled a lot and made us very welcome.

That memory always flickered somewhere every time I met Geraldine years later , but I couldn’t connect them.

Back then raspberries were picked for making jam, or throwing at each other. They were collected in large blue plastic buckets, weighed and then unceremoniously dumped into large barrels , which stank of formaldehyde, before being carted off to the jam factory in Newbliss. A few years later we moved to Monaghan, in 1976, and a few years later still I worked one summer picking strawberries down the road in Cassidy’s. The strawberries were a different breed altogether. They were carefully picked and placed in small punnets with great effort made to keep the larger, riper strawberries for placement on top of each punnet. Each punnet was worth more than a bucket of raspberries.

Now , whenever , I see strawberries and raspberries, I marvel at the price the tiny tray with several raspberries in a single layer command, while the family box of strawberries beside them is cheaper, although flown in from Lebanon, Morocco, or Algeria. The strawberries taste more of cucumber or ice than anything else, but the raspberries still taste of summer in a country field in Gola and twin girls that smiled at you.

Last night I went for a run with the Monaghan Town Runners. I fell in with a group of beginners and started chatting to Brenda and Geraldine, yes , that Geraldine. We’ve volunteered at Parkruns and been members of the same club forever ,but never ran together. We were running at the back. Geraldine hadn’t been running for a while and was just getting back into it. Brenda was kindly keeping her company, and I enjoy chatting to Brenda, she keeps me grounded and stops me getting notions.
Apropos of nothing I was telling them about the traffic in Dublin, as we ran, which prompted Brenda to ask what I was doing in Dublin.

“I’m doing a course in Trinity.” I answered.

“Oooh, are you indeed ? Fancy. What’s it in ?”

“Creative & Cultural Entrepreneurship.”

“Fancy. What’s it about ?”

“Well they are taking creative people , composers, poets, comedians, playwrights, producers, artists, and musicians and showing them how to apply those skills to the business world.”

“What are you doing on it ?”

“Thanks Brenda.”

“No, you know what I mean , they’re all arty, and you’re…well, you’re you.”

Geraldine winked at me.

We ran on along the Greenway and chatted about this and that. Geraldine struggled at times, but never stopped. As we came to Belgium Square the subject of table quizzes came up. Brenda was talking about a recent one our friend, and former running buddy, Ray had staged.

“It was weird.” Brenda explained. “”No normal questions, all weird stuff.” She paused. “You’d have done very well.”

“Thanks Brenda.”

“Brenda !” Geraldine said in mock admonishment.

“Ach now, you know what I mean. Which side of the brain is the organized , logical one ?”

“Left.” I said

“Yeah, you’re the other one.”

We all laughed.

Eventually we made our way to The Diamond and the finish. The other runners were waiting for us. They applauded. Geraldine was delighted, her first 5k in 2 years complete. She turned and hugged me, “Thank you, you’re very kind.” It wasn’t the time and place to tell her that I’ve had the memory of her smile and kindness within me for most of my life, a flicker that didn’t always the light.

Sometimes it flares.

Brenda hugged me too. I love Brenda, how could I not.

We all said ‘ Goodnight’, and as I was feeling in top form ,  I ran the route again on my own. I smiled to myself the whole way round remembering all of the gentle craic we’d had only moments before. That’ll be a flicker in there some day. I recalled Noel Gallagher practicing a new song in 2FM’s studios , which he never recorded again and only released as a bonus track on an album, the recording starts and ends with Noel talking to the sound engineer :

“Is that new ?”

“Sorry ?”

“Is that new ?”


“It’s good”

“That’ll do won’t it.”

For Brenda and Geraldine,



P.S. As I’m writing this my Soulmate came into the office and said that her niece Ella was here to see me. Ella is 3, so I hid underneath my desk to surprise her. The door closed as Eileen went to get Ella. The door opened again and I could here Ella running towards the desk, I was about to shout ‘Surprise !’, but shouted “Jesus !” instead as I  walloped my head off the underside of the desk, shocked by the appearance of Hank, Benny’s Wolfhound-a-doodle. Benny doubled over laughing.

I went looking for Eileen and Ella, they were sitting outside in Kate’s car, oblivious to Benny’s arrival.

This is just another day in the office for me.

Author: paul

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