There He is, Gone

Just four days after I named Twenty Major’s blog among my 100 favourite things he’s gone and closed it down.

If this becomes a trend soon there’ll be no more sunrises, no more airports and no more Harry Potter books.

Anyway, today’s as good a day as any to tell the story of the one-and-only time I met Twenty. I had wandered in to Ron’s Bar in the mistaken belief that it was the Gresham (in my defence, the sun was in my eyes).  A lone figure was sitting at the counter sucking fiercely at a cigarette. A tiny sausage-dog which was lying at his feet sat up and yapped, though its voice was so high-pitched that only, well, dogs could hear him.

“Quiet, Throatripper,” said the man.

“Why do you call him that?” I asked.

“If he ever fought another dog he’d stick in his throat and choke him,” was the reply.

I laughed and offered to buy him a drink, which he accepted. He held out his hand. “Twenty,” he said. This may have seemed like a strange name, but when you’re called Tinman you tend not to mock other peoples’ names, unless they’re called Track or Trig, which would be just silly.

Twenty is taller than you’d expect from his blog, though this may be just because my laptop has a very small screen. He is a lively conversationalist, though his language is a little crude. I noticed, however, that he seemed a little dejected, and asked was anything the matter.

“I’ve just come from my aunt’s funeral,” he said. “Mathilda Major. She was 102, and one of the great patriots. She was an officer in the old IRA.”

“An officer? Was she called Major Major?” I asked.

“Don’t be ridiculous, no-one would be called that. She fought with all the greats – Connolly, Pearse, Howth Junction …”

“You mean she was in the GPO?” I asked.

“Yeah. Loads of times. That’s where she collected her children’s allowance.”

“No, er, I meant, it’s just, well, you said she fought with Connolly and all…..”

“And so she did. Fought with them all the time – called them gobshites and wasters.”

I felt at this stage like I was conversing in a bucket of treacle. “Anyway,” I said, “her funeral was today, you say.”

“It was. Full military affair. Guard of honour. Twenty Gun salute. And she was buried in a full army uniform. And, of course, in the special hat that all IRA members get buried in.”

He knocked back the last of the pint, walked to the door, and turned back to me.

“She wore the RA’s bury beret,” he said.

***************************************************************************************************

That’s my tribute to you, Twenty. Best of luck with all you do.

6 thoughts on “There He is, Gone

  1. tinman18 Post author

    In fairness, Lara, a man who can’t tell the difference between Ron’s Bar and the Gresham is hardly be going to be able to tell a cat from a dog.

    Did I mention that the sun was in my eyes?

    Reply
  2. dailyirishblah

    I was rather hoping there would be a pun from her name, like how she escaped from Kilmainham despite being lined up along for execution, when suddenly from through the brickwork she heard the first verses of a traditional irish lilt, which was her cue to run, while the officers were startled at the sound emanating from between the bricks. But she didn’t run, she was slightly deaf;, turning to her, Connolly whispered

    “Did you hear the wall sing mathilda”

    That is my tribute to the great curmudgeon.

    Reply
  3. tinman18 Post author

    Funny isn’t it, d-i-b (how many different names are you going to have – are you on the run?), we gave out shite about his puns while he was doing them, and now we’ll miss them.

    Reply
  4. dailyirishblah

    this name would appear to be the one that wordpress likes.

    I never gave out about his puns, I just thought (and said) they were shite, which they were.

    I won’t miss him as it happens, I will miss the comments.

    His was a great blog, but not necessarily for the content.

    The above sounds less generous than I meant, now that I read it back.

    Put it this way, it’s not up there with JR being shot, or Elvis pretending to be dead, in the pantheon of great tragedies, but I am sure it will be keenly felt by some.

    Reply

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