Long Walk to Mary’s & Pat’s Birthday
corey says…Today’s weather was just too perfect to do any but enjoy the outdoors. I opted to walk the length of Knockahopple road all way to Liam’s cousin Mary’s.
The sun was bright, and there was a great breeze. In fact, there were moments when the wind would bring a bit of a chill, but then the gust would turn warm again. The road was unusually quiet and there were very few dogs that came to the road barking when they saw me. Many years ago, the route was filled with very loud, very bold canines.
It took about two hours before I reached Mary’s driveway. Up the hill I went. When I rounded the corner, Mary’s son Tim was standing outside the milk barn. His dog Rex spotted me and gave out a bark. When Tim saw me, his eyes were fixed just behind me trying to see if there would be a car following me up the drive…he wouldn’t expect me to have walked that distance.
Mary came from the house into the yard, “Now, Cor-a-ray, yeer very welcome. I’d say ye’er the very last person in the world I’d expect coming up the road.”
Mary had me come in for tea…and, as she calls it, a “rough and ready” meal. Four pieces of ham, three pieces of bread, some biscuits. Then Tim came in and chatted for a bit as Mary slipped back to the barn to wash up the milking equipment…they have almost developed a sort of ballet when it comes to seamlessly tag-teaming their guests as they get their chores done.
I was there for about an hour and a half. Mary and Tim had to get ready for mass, so they continued to hand off the visiting duties until it was time to leave. Mary was very apologetic that our visit couldn’t have lasted longer, but I assured her I would be back soon.
They then gave me a ride to a spot where the Slieve Felim trail crosses the road. We bid each other farewell, and I hiked up the hill among the bright yellow furze. The path wraps right around mighty Keeper Hill and leads right to Tony’s cottage. The forestry had been taking down a lot of trees along the route since I walked it last summer…so some spots weren’t quite as scenic, but it was still a fantastic hike.
At one point, there were four deer crossing the trail in front of me. They spotted me and froze. Then in two quick hops, they disappeared into the forest.
I had been walking for about 45 minutes when I started wondering how long it would be before I saw some clues that would tell me how much further it was until I was at Tony’s. Then across the freshly harvested field of pine stumps, I saw the trail Tony and I had walked a few weeks ago. I knew I’d be at Tony’s within ten minutes.
As I came down the hill, I saw a break in the trees and could see Tony’s roof in the distance. Then, when I neared the bottom, Tony was coming up the trail to meet me. We chatted the rest of the way to the cottage.
I visited with Tony and his parents for a few minutes before it was time for us to head to Knockahopple for Liam’s mother’s birthday party. Liam had sandwiches, cake, custard and of course whiskey, beer and soda for all of us. His cousins Anna and Mehal were there as were neighbors Tom and James.
Liam’s mother Pat was tickled with her party and enjoyed her gifts of chocolates and Bailey’s.