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The true story of the Blarney stone

Part #1.
I was born some time ago in a little town in Ireland called Ballymena.
Now Ballymena is very close to Slemish Mountain where Saint Patrick
himself once herded sheep when he first came to Ireland. The following
story has been handed down in our family from one generation to another ...
and then on to me. My Grandfather said that indeed it is a true story
'cause he was there at the time, and sober he was too. It's the true story of how
the Blarney Stone, with the help of Saint Patrick 'himself' of course, was
taken from the town of Ballymena and transported to the castle in Blarney. It is an historical love story of
some epic proportions and may one day be made into a movie. But until that
happens my telling of the story will have to suffice.

The epic story Part. #1.
So! there was Patrick sitting around with some of the local boys from
Ballymena, and I think that maybe some of the lads from the Belfast
shipyards might have been there as well. Anyway they were all just
having a couple of cold beers while congratulating Patrick on his recent
promotion from sheep herder to that of the head of the newly formed
"Christianity Department" at the Ballymena Centre for Higher Learning.
Unfortunately Ballymena didn't have a University back in those early days.
Well! actually it still doesn't have one to this very day but that's
besides the point.   

When one of the boys, I think perhaps that it was one of the lads from
Belfast who said to Patrick, "Pray tell us Patrick what is this thing
called three in one all about?" And so Patrick said, "oh you mean Irish
Blackjack well that's when you have to get thirty one to beat the dealer
or"... No! No! hollered the wee religious man from the Belfast shipyards.
"Tellus once again about that three in one thing which has to do with Ireland
and this new fangled religion you keep talking about."  

"Oh that three in one!" said Patrick and he reached down and plucked a
Shamrock from the ground, luckily enough for Patrick they were sitting
in the outside patio of the Pub at the time. Holding up the immortal
Shamrock in front of his friends he preceded to show them just how the
Shamrock would one day become a symbol of Ireland. From the left hand
side of the Shamrock he pulled off a leaf and said "this is yer
Catholics" and from the right hand side he pulled off another leaf and
said "and this is yer Protestants." He then pulled off the remaining
leaf which had been in the middle and said "and this is yer in
betweeners." And that is why to this very day in Ireland you have your
Catholics and your Protestants and your in Betweeners. But anyways ...
on with my story.  

Well like all good parties this one too came to an end as well, and
Patrick soon found himself walking down the dark back country road. Back to
the town of Ballymena and wouldn't you know it there wasn't a taxi in
sight.
Feeling just a little bit under the weather, which incidentally was no hell
at the time, Patrick sat down on a large stone at the side of the road to
rest for a little while. Sure that last beer must have been stronger than
all of the other beers put together, I was doing really good until I had
that last beer Patrick thought to himself. Although his stomach was feeling
a little bit unsettled his eyesight had improved so much so that he was now
able to see two of everything. 


Part #2.
So there was Patrick sitting on this rather large stone at the side of
the road, the road to Ballymena that is. "I wish that 'me' stomach would
settle down even just a little bit," sighed Patrick as he looked at his
watch. "Sure I still have a long ways to go and it's getting late." 

Lo! and behold before you could say Blue Hawaii the land of lush
mountains, pristine beaches and five star hotels, there appeared
before Patrick two of the most beautiful ... well actually there was
only one of him and he certainly could not be called beautiful. But a
night o' drinking 'will' do that to a man won't it... even to a man
called Patrick.

As Patrick rubbed his eyes and looked again he noticed that there was a
certain ruggedness about the wee man now standing before him.
A ruggedness perhaps brought on by living for hundreds of years in the
fresh air up around the Glens of Antrim. He certainly wasn't tall, I
mean by no stretch of the imagination could one say that there appeared
before Patrick this tall dark and handsome stranger. I would even go so far
as to say that the stranger was below average height, even for the
Ballymena area. Fashionably dressed was he? no I don't think that you could say that
either. First off there was that silly green hat that he was wearing which
did not quite go with his little red turned up shoes. And the little waist
coat was terribly out of fashion, even the Romans had stopped wearing them
years before.
And then there was the beard, and the pointed ears ... Why one could
almost say that he looked somewhat like a Leprechaun!

"OK! OK! YOUR WISH WAS TO HAVE YOUR STOMACH SETTLED" yelled the bad
tempered little son of a!!! ... son of a Leprechaun at Patrick, "HERE
THEN DRINK THIS AND IT WILL PUT A COATING ON YOUR STOMACH." "What is
it?" asked Patrick, "IT'S A MAGIC POTION YOU BLITHERING IDIOT, WHAT DID YOU
THINK IT WAS, PEPTO BISMOL?" 
"Look I was just asking" said Patrick as he stared the noisy nasty
little man right in the eye. Which wasn't an easy thing for Patrick to
do seeing as how the little man only came up to Patrick's belly button.
Patrick drank the pink liquid and soon fell into a deep ... deep sleep. it
was while sleeping that the dream came to him.

"Patrick pick up the stone upon which you rest your weary bottom, and
take it to Blarney castle, the voice in his dream thundered. "People
from all over the world will come to kiss it, the stone that is, people
will come to kiss the stone and will leave lots of money behind." "Who are these
people? are they Vikings or invading Mormons perhaps?" asked Patrick. "No!
Patrick they shall be called tourists, and besides it's invading Norman's
not Mormons" replied the voice, "and in return for kissing the stone and
giving us lots of money we shall bestow upon them the gift of the gab."
"So just what exactly is this 'gift of the gab?' asked a somewhat bewildered
Patrick. "That my son is the art of speaking without really saying anything
at all ... it's an Irish thing Patrick you wouldn't understand it."  came
the answer. 

"And Patrick! do something about these snakes, that's the second one
I've stepped on today, I've got to go now Patrick, I have to go and whip
the Romans into shape, or is that the Presbyterians?" anyway I shall leave
Ireland in your hands Patrick! said the voice as it trailed off into the
clouds in the Irish night sky.  


Part #3.
Patrick was sitting at his desk in the Department for Religious Studies.
All the while quietly mulling over how he was ever going to get this strange
and rather heavy stone down to Blarney, when in walked Vernon the Viking. Now
let me try and explain Vernon to you. Vernon was one of those early
Vikings, truly a man ahead of his time. Vernon had invaded Ireland on a trial run,
just to see if it could be done. To see if the long boats were indeed long
enough, so to speak. Unfortunately for Vernon he had stopped in for a cold
beer on his way back to the harbour and he missed the boat. I mean he
literally missed the boat it left without him. Now Vernon knew that the
next Viking raid wasn't scheduled for quite some time what with the Normans
having booked a lot of time for their invasions and the English liked to
come over in the Summer months just to get away from all of the fighting at
home with the Scots. "It really is nice to fight someone different isn't it
chaps? Tally ho!"  is what the English used to say as soon as they had
landed. 

Seemed at times that every Tom, Dick and their cousin Harry wanted to
invadeIreland. 'Last stop before the Americas' is how it was advertised in 'The
Invaders weekly',  back in those early days. 

Knowing that he was going to have to stay for a while Vernon thought
that getting himself a job might be a good thing to do, and as you can
very well imagine it wasn't easy. I mean there he was stuck in Ireland
and he had to go and ask the very same people that he had just finished
pillaging and plundering, if they had any jobs available.

He eventually did get a job thanks to Patrick, who thought that Vernon
might just be a good addition to the National Defence Department in
Ballymena. Perhaps Vernon might be able to help them close some of the
loop holes in their Invasion Defence Policy which to be honest with you was
not a roaring success at the time.

Anyway back to the story at hand, in walked Vernon into Patrick's
office, hand stretched out in a gesture of farewell. "Well Patrick this
time tomorrow I'm off to the South to get married, and so I would just like to
say goodbye now while .... "Which part of the South are you going to?"
interrupted Patrick showing a sudden interest in Vernon's up and coming
marriage. "Why it's off to Tipperary that I'm going" replied Vernon just a
little bit perplexed at Patrick's sudden interest in his trip. Sheep and
Shamrocks had always been Patricks passion, plucking Shamrocks and herding
sheep that is. Marriage is something that Patrick had never shown an
interest in. Now don't get me wrong Patrick liked women and they him, it's
just that Mr. and Mrs. Saint Patrick ... well it just doesn't have the same
ring to it now does it?  "It's a long way to Tipperary" remarked Patrick as
he looked over his left shoulder at his friend Vernon. "Yes it's a long way
to go" said Vernon with a smile. "It's a long way to Tipperary to the
sweetest girl I know" he said with a wink of the eye to Patrick.

"Do you think that you might be able to drop something off in Blarney
for me?" asked patrick. "Like what" returned Vernon. "Like this strange
stone" replied Patrick pointing to the large strange stone which he had
already put into an envelope and placed in the out tray on top of his desk.
Yes! it was indeed! a very large out tray. "For you Patrick anything"
replied Vernon all the while wondering why Patrick just didn't send it by
Federal Express ... overnight delivery guaranteed, and not too expensive
either. 


Vernon arrived in Blarney shortly after lunch just a mere three and a
half weeks after leaving Ballymena, and thankful that he had booked on
the Mule Train Express. Cost a little bit extra for the express perhaps,
but worth every penny. Actually the trip only cost five pieces of silver and a
bag of freshly salted pigs feet, which really wasn't a bad price for that
particular time of year, it being peak season and all. But one thing that
Vernon had noticed was that people just didn't want to accept all of the
payment in hard currency anymore; what with the price of silver fluctuating
so much on the world markets each day. Besides you can't eat a piece of
silver. Now a big plate of freshly salted pigs feet could buy you a decent
place to stay on a rainy night. 
Speaking of a decent place to stay, Vernon noticed that Blarney Castle
had just been awarded the coveted five star rating, and so off he set to
have a closer look at the castle.

Finding it to his liking, Vernon checked in and shortly thereafter
called Sharon, the absolutely gorgeous and strikingly beautiful
Professor and arranged to drop the strange stone off at the University
in the morning, before heading all the way back to Tipperary and to the
sweetest girl he knew.

The next morning broke around about dawn with a gentle rain falling and so
Vernon decided that taking a cab was in order and before long he found
himself along with the strange stone at the University of Blarney. After
speaking to reception and explaining that, No! he was NOT an exchange
student who had lost his way, it was arranged that he should wait for
Sharon, the absolutely gorgeous and strikingly beautiful Professor, in the
cafeteria. 

Half an hour had passed and Vernon had just finished his second cup of
Swamp Water Tea, when Sharon walked into the cafeteria. Vernon decided
immmediately that maybe the sweetest girl did live in Tipperary but the
most beautiful woman he had ever seen was right here in Blarney.

While tossing back her flaming red hair, Sharon's emerald green eyes
swept around the room and her gaze finally fell upon Vernon's horns. Yes he
was wearing his Viking Helmet at the time. But even so she could tell a
handsome Viking when she saw one, and so she strutted across the room, just
like some absolutely gorgeous and strikingly beautiful Professor.


It was very much love at first sight for both Vernon and Sharon, Vernon
knew immediately in his Viking heart that he would never ever again return to
the town of Ballymena. Oh! sure he would be giving up a good Government Pension
from the Department of National Defence if he stayed on in Blarney. A
pension indexed to the rate of inflation no less. And then there was all
the other little perks that go with any Government job. There was for instance,
the use of the Defence Department mule for getting back and forth to work,
he certainly would miss that mule. Her name was 'Ode May', named after his
girl friend 'Ode May O'Riley' from Tipperary. And then there was the
Department's account down at Murphy's Bar and Grill, which was used
strictly for office meetings only, and for celebrating the usual Government lay offs
and cutbacks.

But Vernon was in love right up to the tip of his Viking horns and so he
decided to propose to Sharon right away. "Sharon let us sit down over here
for a minute I have something to ask you" said Vernon as he
tenderly placed his arm around her narrow waist and gently guided her
towards the stone, the strange stone that is ... the one he had brought
with him from Ballymena. As they sat down on the stone and while looking into
each others eyes, Vernon sang her the most hauntingly beautiful Viking love
song. Which was a bit of a waste really as Sharon didn't understand one
word of it, seeing as how she didn't even know the language. But she did hum
along with the chorus though.

After he had finished singing, Vernon asked Sharon to be his bride and
without any hesitation whatsoever, Sharon immediately said yes.
Considering of course that they could remain in Blarney and she could
still teach at the University and only if her parents approved of the
marriage and if he could find a job, and if her sister would be her
Bridesmaid and what about the flowers, and no children right away please
and
......

Well you know what weddings are like, there's this to think about and
then there's that to think about. After the magic of the moment had
passed and Sharon had finally stopped talking, Vernon came back down to
earth and it was only then he realized that he just might have a little bit
of a problem. Like being engaged to two different women at the same time.
"Darn it all to Blarney! he cursed. I wish that you were a teacher of Law
here at the University." "And why's that" asked Sharon rather naively.
"Because when my Tipperary fiancee finds out what I've gone and done, I
think that I'm going to need a good lawyer" replied Vernon anxiously.
Before you could sing the first two lines of 'WASN'T THAT A PARTY' by the Irish
Rovers, who should appear once again but the cheeky little Leprechaun.

"OK! OK! starting next semester you're teaching Law at the University of
Blarney" said the little Leprechaun pointing his finger at Sharon.
But I ... I don't know anything about the Law" hesitated Sharon. 
With that the little Leprechaun placed his right index finger ever so
gently in Sharon's left ear, and after muttering some ancient Irish
Incantations mixed with a little bit of Ballymena Bafflegab, he said to
Sharon. Behold! I have given to you all of the knowledge of the Law, you
are now as smart as any Lawyer can be. And for some strange reason he laughed
out loud, right after he said that last part.


After a whirlwind courtship followed by the mandatory blood tests, a
date for Vernon and Sharon's wedding was finally set and the invitations
were sent out to all of their friends.

Dawn approached Blarney Castle on the day of the wedding much as it
did on any other day, which was early in the morning just as the sun was
starting to rise. All in all it seemed like it was going to be a nice day
for a wedding ... the wedding of Vernon and Sharon that is.
The invited guests had started arriving the day before and along with
Patrick who had been asked to perform the wedding ceremony itself, came
some of Vernon's close friends from the North of Ireland.

One of the nicest surprises had been the unexpected arrival of Vernon's
uncle Olaf, who had since been asked and had agreed to be the best man.
Vernon was very, very fond of Olaf and indeed thought of him more as his
own father's brother rather than just an uncle. Luckily enough Olaf had been on
a raiding party in England when he had received the word about Vernon's up
and coming wedding. And so he immediately dropped what he was doing at the
time which was the burying of his plunder which he had just finished
pillaging. He had intended on doing a little bit more of the pillaging
thing, but gave up on that idea right away and made a detour across the Sea
to Ireland to attend the wedding of his favourite Viking nephew. 

The town of Blarney was in a joyful mood that day and the hustle and the
bustle to make everything perfect for the wedding was contagious.
Everyone seemed eager to play their own little part to help out no
matter how small that might be.
It seemed that all throughout the town one could hear the joyous chorus of
the many voices ringing out with a hundred and one questions ...
where is this? and where is that? and who has the rings? has anyone seen
Vernon's good brass horns, he's misplaced them again.
What about the flowers? and oh no! Patrick's luggage didn't arrive on
the same mule train as he did, can someone lend him something to wear?
And what shall we do with this large strange stone? someone hollered out in
all of the confusion. "Just move it up onto the Castle wall out of the
way" someone else shouted back, "but make sure it's not on the parapet walkway
for someone to trip over, Yes just shove it down there in that hard to get
at space, if somebody wants to move it later on, well then! they can just
get down and kiss my ... "What was that you said" the voice yelled back
above the noise from the street ... "I said they can get down and kiss the
stone, now that you ask." 

At precisely on the stroke of twelve o'clock noon by the Castle clock
itself, or five after twelve on the local Sundial, the doors of Blarney
Castle opened up and the guests inside rose to their feet and looked around
in unison to see the absolutely gorgeous and strikingly beautiful bride
Sharon enter the magnificent main hall of the Castle with her father. This
was rather odd as Vernon who should have been there already standing at the
alter awaiting her arrival, had not yet himself arrived. And what about
uncle Olaf the best man as well as being the best uncle? where was he?
And the boat that Vernon had been secretly building out in the garage,
was it still there? And the note, just what did the note say? the note
which had been so carefully folded and lovingly placed inside the satin box
along with the wedding ring. Has fickle Vernon the Viking gone and done it
again.


With trembling hands Sharon opened up the small satin box which Patrick had
given to her just moments before. The tears started to roll down her face
as she unfolded the note which had been so delicately placed with care under
the wedding ring and without even having to look at the words, she knew in
her heart that something was terribly wrong. All around her in the great
hall not a sound was heard ... not even the whispering sigh of a babe
asleep, was allowed to intrude upon this moment. So quiet and still was the
air in the magnificent great hall that each falling teardrop could be heard
hitting the black marble floor just a few broken heart beats below the
jilted bride's emerald green eyes. Patrick ever the diplomat, took charge
of the situation as best he could under the circumstances and announced in a
clear and commanding voice that perhaps everyone should now retire to the
outside gardens where the rest of the festivities awaited them.

From Blarney Town to the Town of Cork and from there to the open sea was
perhaps a mere ten miles if that. Not too far by any means for a sea faring
man who wished to run away from something, or to something.
Vernon and his uncle Olaf were at that moment running in that direction. 

Sharon stood alone by the alter as she again read the note in utter
disbelief. The words were all at once familiar if somewhat misused and
explained things as nothing else could.

My darling Sharon,
I have to go down to the sea again, to the lonely sea and the sky and
all I ask is ... is another chance to come back and to claim your love
forever. Hey babe I'm doing this one for you. Uncle Olaf has said that
if I help him recover his buried plunder in England that he will then
give us money for the down payment on our own little house, detached of
course and with a rose garden. He's also willing to take back a first
mortgage at about 4 per cent per annum, amortized over twenty five years no
less. But time is of the essence my sweet little Irish Chickadee, and so we
had to leave right away, wish me luck sweetheart. We are using the boat
which I myself built as a surprise wedding gift for you. And please don't
worry about me, as I had some of the lads from the Belfast shipyards take a
good look at the boat. They all said for me not to worry as it would take
the first three watertight compartments to flood completely before she
would sink. And what's the chance of that happening I ask you, my sweet Irish
Nightingale. With a knowing nod of the head, they also said one and all,
that she's just about unsinkable. Like the wee man from Sandy Row said,
"ketch yersel' on, where are you going to find anything big enough to run
into out there on the Irish Sea anyway, what would flood all three
ompartments, and with a laugh he also added, in his Belfast accent of
course. "I'd just like to see them try, and so you'se go on now sure you'se
are jest fine." So with that in mind, my sweet little Irish Song Thrush we
are off, all my love till we meet again ... 
Vernon.

Sharon could feel the wind on her face as she stood by the open castle
window ... aye! and a cold wind it was at that too. A wind so cold that it
felt as though it may just have brushed up against some ice cold force, as
it made it's way down through the Irish Sea and carried on with it's
windswept journey to kiss the town of Blarney ... and the
large strange stone.


The waves rushed up to kiss the Irish shoreline as the piercing call of a
gull overhead cried out to the lonely figure walking below. Not a word ever
spoken or written by man since time began could bring about any measure of
solace to the broken hearted women to be found walking on the windswept
beach that day. 

The emerald green eyes looked out to the horizon in the hope that
somehow hope itself could bring about a miracle. Did not Patrick himself
talk about miracles. Have enough faith and ye can move mountains he had
once told her. More from anger than from any mistrust Sharon yelled out "and so
where are you now, now when I need you the most you are not here for me, no
one is here for me ... not even Vernon." And with those last painful words
the tears began to roll down her face.

Overcome with grief she dropped to her knees and allowed the foaming
waters to engulf her. Sharon closed her eyes for the very last time and
from deep within her heart of hearts she called out and spoke to her one and
only true love ... Vernon.

This day I shall be with you in the halls of Valhalla and never again 
shall we ever be parted. The flood of tears that rolled down her face
now, were forever lost in the surging tide of the Irish Sea as it
wrapped itself around her. In the last fleeting moments as the darkness of
a closing life surrounded her she could hear the voice from Valhalla calling
out. And so she released and let slip the earthly bonds that had kept her
on this Isle of sorrow, and with outstretched hands Sharon reached out to
the figure ... that all familiar and loving figure standing there in the
halls of Valhalla.


It was the seaweed which gave her the first clue, I mean all the rest
was there, the tunnel vision and the bright lights at the end of the
tunnel. Not to mention the angelic voices singing to the beautiful music
playing on a Viking harp. Which was something like an Irish harp only with
horns on it.

But the seaweed just didn't fit in, the seaweed hanging from the horns
that is. Surely Vikings wouldn't walk around Valhalla with seaweed
hanging from their horns. Especially not Vernon and Uncle Olaf, I mean
you just couldn't find two more neat freak Vikings than those two.

It was while in the middle of this 'near death experience' that Sharon
first felt the strong Viking arms suddenly pull her out of the raging
water as her lungs fought hard to clear themselves and the closing
darkness around her disappeared along with the tunnel, as she once again
returned to her earthly form. There by her side stood Uncle Olaf and Vernon
with seaweed hanging from their helmets and their skin all
puckered up like a couple of dried out prunes sitting forlornly on some
forgotten grocery shelf. As the three of them sat down on the beach
exhausted and weary right through to the bone. Vernon went on to explain to
Sharon in his own simple words, while at the same time gasping for air just
what had happened to them out there on the Irish Sea on that fateful night.

We didn't even see the iceberg, I tell you it was like some huge beast
which had come out of nowhere ... first one then two, and then the third
watertight compartment flooded, and we were going down fast by the Bow
Vernon explained to the somewhat water logged and semi-conscious Sharon.
When the water started to creep up to 'B' deck it was then that Uncle Olaf
gave the order, 'prepare the lifeboats'. There we were up to our belly
buttons in saltwater and I had to tell Uncle Olaf that lifeboats were an
option on this particular model. An option I never thought that I would
ever need, and who uses them anyway these days, eh! Sharon? what with the new
water tight compartments. And when was the last time you saw an iceberg out
in the Irish Sea? OR! didn't see one which would be more precise in our
particular case muttered Uncle Olaf. But I tell you Sharon! continued
Vernon looking into her emerald green eyes which, incidentally were still rolling
around in her head at this time. Now by Golly! I am wishing on this night
that I had put the extra money into another sheet of Marine grade plywood
and what's a few extra nails anyway? groaned Vernon in retrospect. 

Lucky for Vernon and Uncle Olaf a Japanese freighter fresh out of
Belfast City with a load of Irish coal bound for Liverpool 'hove' to
and picked them up the next day, or was that two days later? Hmmmmm!
Anyway on with my story. No sooner were they on board the Japanese
freighter and under way than the lookout rang the bell and yelled out a
frantic warning in Japanese. Actually his first language was French
which he was quite fluent in, but because most of the crew were Japanese
the warning was given in Frantic Japanese.

Now! Iceberg sounds much the same in any sailor's language and when
Vernon and Uncle Olaf turned around and looked forwards, there it was
again like some huge ice blue Moby Dick ... The very same iceberg which had
caused their own sinking, now lay dead ahead in the water. The Japanese
Captain yelled out 'RIGHT FULL RUDDER' also in Frantic
Japanese, but to no avail as the freighter wasn't responding fast
enough. A sickening thud followed by a scraping noise along the forward
Bow, and the Japanese freighter had just taken on some fresh ice.

It was then that Vernon turned to his very 'best' uncle sitting right
there beside him, and while scratching his head remarked with a silly
grin, "this is another fine mess you've gotten us into ... Ollie." 
(which was a pet name the family had for Uncle Olaf.)


All in all the Japanese Lifeboat was quite comfortable, lots of leg
room not to mention the space in the back for extra luggage if so
required. The wooden headrest needed some adjusting though as Uncle
Olaf kept catching his horns on it. But eventually they both settled in and
when they had more of a chance to look around them, it was then that Uncle
Olaf nudged Vernon and whispered. "What do you think of these passenger
side Hair bags? they're all the rage now you know, a Pigs bladder stuffed
with camel hair. Yes! it's so much more comfortable sitting on a Hair bag
than sitting on a plain old wooden plank, don't you agree?" remarked Olaf
knowingly.

"They seem to be able to do so much more with what little space they
have to work with" said Vernon quite impressed. "I've been in much
bigger lifeboats that didn't have half the leg room this one has"
acknowledged Uncle Olaf suitably impressed himself. "Paints peeling off a
little bit here and there, but the salt sea air will do that, won't it? 
Yes! perhaps I just might think 'JAPANESE' myself the next time I'm in the
market for a good second hand lifeboat." 

It was just after they had settled down comfortably in the lifeboat and
while lunch was being served, actually it was right between the hors
d'oeuvres and the main course that the same iceberg turned up again. Yes!
the first three compartments flooded again, and yes! she went down fast by
the bow again! ... and no! the lifeboat didn't have a lifeboat and so they
all found themselves swimming together in the Irish Sea.

It was while they were swimming aimlessly about in the water with
their new found Japanese friends that Olaf came up with a plan. They
would all swim towards the Irish coast. Yep! that was his plan lock
stock and barrel so to speak. The Japanese huddled together for a quick
conference and after much debate amongst themselves as to the what the
Cholesterol level and the saturated fat content of an Irish Fry just might
be, they said thanks but no thanks Olaf, they would rather swim towards
England. And so Vernon and Uncle Olaf shook hands with the Japanese crew
and after all of the goodbyes and good lucks and with much back slapping and
exchange of address's they started swimming towards land. 

It was only when they got closer to shore that Vernon first noticed the
figure kneeling there in the water. No mistaking who it was, not even on
that lonely deserted beach with no one else there to confuse things. Yes!
it was the absolutely gorgeous and strikingly beautiful Sharon up to her
emerald green eyes in trouble, and the rest as they is history. 

The chain of events which had occurred only served to bring Sharon and
Vernon closer together, nothing sweetens loves taste more so than a
love almost lost. Uncle Olaf was himself affected by the ordeal and
decided that it just might be time to hang up his horns and settle down.
Perhaps being close to ones family and sharing in the good times as well as
the bad times together, was much more precious and rewarding than chasing
the almighty piece of silver ... in this lifetime anyway. 

As they walked along the beach with their arms lovingly wrapped around
each others waists, life it seemed at the moment to hold all of the
wonders and the promise that Patrick had talked about. And as the Irish Sea
crashed up on the beach and the wind blown surf sparkled in the sunlight
like diamonds dancing in the air. I thought that perhaps I just might have
heard Vernon ask ... have you ever been to a sweet little town called
Ballymena? NO! Well let me tell you about Ballymena. 
Once upon a time ........................ 
The End. 

To all of the listers on the Antrim List I can only hope that I have not
intruded too much upon your time. If I have managed to bring a smile to
your face or perhaps given you a few moments escape from this oft' times crazy
and hurried world which we find ourselves living in today ... then I feel
that I have served this List well. To the other listers whose main reason
for being on this list is their own relentless pursuit of pure Genealogy, I
thank you for your patience in putting up with my musings. Perhaps I can
repay you when I return one day to more serious writings about the history
of the town called Ballymena and the Mid-Antrim area. To all of you who
wrote letters of encouragement to me, take a big bow ... you're all very
nice people. 
Joe. The rainman-(c) J. McMasters-irishrainman@excite.com


Please note: If you experience any difficulties, you may email your response to this page to:

Liam G. McFaul

If you have any thing to say in connection with Co. Antrim or N. Ireland let me know.
Thanks for looking at this page.
HAVE A NICE DAY.... Bye

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Updated on  30-1-2010

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