WE bear thee tidings of great joy this week. We’re in the bosom of a baby boom.
A text from Damian McLoughlin in Kilbeggan opened the floodgates. “Ellen Jo born at 9.40am. All doing well.” Typical Damian. Brief and to the point. Damian and Frances have waited nineteen years for the arrival of this bundle of joy.
Damian and I go back a bit. He provides sustenance when required on my journeys east. Our friendship shoes in immediately wherever it last kicked off.
Football consumes him. He was Westmeath’s kit man under Tomas Ó Flatharta and he managed Kilbeggan to outright victory in last year’s Westmeath senior championship. But Monday’s happening catapulted him and Francis above the happiest stratosphere.
Damian’s communiqué burst the dam. Similar bulletins followed as the week unfolded. Alyson and Shane across the way have a boy. A boy for Josephine and Richie and same for Fionnuala and Ronan. There are girls born to Richard and Denise, Evelyn and Danny, and for Niamh Corcoran from over the road, and Trevor, it’s a girl also. Aw. . .
Mothers and babies all doing fine. And the daddies too. Deo Gratius and whatever you’re having yourself. They’re sittin’ up, atin’ a bit, and a full recovery is imminent.
There’s been no let-up. On Wednesday night I repaired to the local hostelry. I thought I’d gone to Mothercare. A waiting-room full of new and doting dads presented themselves at the counter. And a grandfather baptised in the fountain of youth holding court amongst them.
Jollification and rejoicing galore and impromptu matchmaking ensued as night beckoned morning. They were making the most of it because we’ll have a grand stretch in the evenings by the time those boyos are out carousing again.
News of the celebrations went viral across the Midwest region when some buffoon texted a request to the Michael Commins Late Show. Never one to miss a trick, Commins gave a beryl to T.R Dallas singing ‘Daddy’s Girl’. His legion of regular listeners cuddled up to each other in their beds.
Time was when a man’s only input to nature’s marvels (apart from the obvious) was cycling across hill and dale to summon the midwife. And boil water.
Bad cest to Rod Stewart. He couldn’t leave well enough alone and it was he who bucked the trend. Now every ‘New Age Man’ has to gown up and assume a hand-holding role. They even give lessons for it.
Life and the comfort zone men lived it in was breached forever more on a night long ago when a no-nonsense matron in Mayo General hounded the man from out Knockadoona country into the delivery ward and she paraphrasing Magnus Magnusson’s famous catchphrase, “You started so you’ll finish.”
And what (again apart from the obvious) initiated this latest population splurge. We encountered no storm or power outage worth talking about. Not the famous Mayo earthquake either. That happened in June. Other forces caused the earth to move for Mary Ann in Geesala that momentous morning.
We have it. It was the re-fixture of the Mayo/Dublin match that vanished in the February fog. Fans got free admission that April evening. Mayo turned ‘The Dubs’ over big time and ‘The Mort’ smashed Jinkin’ Joe’s scoring record. No wonder supporters went home and they full of jizz that night. Something had to give.
Luckily I had Jarlath Reilly, Tom Watson and Noel Ansboro in the buggy so wise counsel prevailed. “Aaragh, don’t be reading too much into this win, it’s only Dublin in the league” they opined as we renegotiated Keel Bridge.
But now the chickens (or the storks in this instance) have landed home to roost. From Killawalla to Kilkeeran the story is the same. We are marching to the patter of tiny feet.
This latest phenomenon to hit the region could well catch on. The words of the Loretta Lynn dirge come to mind.” One is a toddlin' and one is a crawlin' and one's on the way.”
We are living in the good young times.