Posts Tagged ‘Cork’

Uncle Joe

I did not know you well – mostly keeping yourself … for yourself … and the few you left in.  Most of the time, when I think back, you were in the background, your pipe and a short in hand … a smile on your face, as if you held the secret to all things.  Every now and again you’d break out into a story of days gone by – my mother, and her family … my father, and his family too – always a constant presence in those stories.  Other than those few times, I only ever saw you as … stoic – except for when my mother died, and you couldn’t bring yourself to walk the two steps to where she took her last breath, and look at her one last time … I was watching you  … you were close to tears … lost for any words other than the ones you shakily whispered – words that made sense only to the bewildered … or those living a great loss.  Have a good trip Joe …

The Godfather

When I was a kid

I used to visit you

And Betty too

On Cook Street

In Cork.


Cook Street,

One of those little streets one can find only in Ireland

And nowhere in America

Or anywhere else I’ve ever lived.


Your little watchmaker shop

Hidden away

Atop a winding third floor stairs

Hidden away

From most of the world

Yet known to all those who wore a watch,

That ticked

And tocked

All of days before life grew up

And became complicated.


How many times do you suppose I visited you there

Before my own travels began?

They were many.

I remember them all,

As if they were one long visit

One Long journey,

Or story

Now concluded.


     You were a bundle of life Michael … with many stories the same way told.  Today, you’re going on one more trip – when you get there, say “Hi” to those gone before you, from all of us still here … especially to those that went before their time … tell them we miss them … Have a good trip bubba …

For Diarmuid

Donovans shop
The “Blacka” Bridge
French students in the summer time, that sent our teen minds to places as yet untraveled
Gerry Rafferty
ZZ Top
Cork Con
Shandon Boat Club
Now, 30 years down the road, these and so many more memories and places are all lost to time. I raced out of Ireland before any of life’s wrinkles came calling, and as it turns out, I’ve rarely looked back. To me, all of you remained the way I remember you the last time I saw you – and in quiet times, like now, it still usually fails to register with me that all of you grew up … had lives … and families … and good times … and bad times too – much like how my own life has gone. All too often now though, words from home are not good words – they chip away at that wall of invincibility I once perched upon – It doesn’t seem so high anymore … Diarmuid, I wanted to write these words tonight, before tomorrow – before your family lets you go … sleep well tonight my old friend – something new begins tomorrow … goodbye D …
© 2012, Tim Prendeville

Hindsights and Perceptions

Days and days of rain.
Was it ever any other way?
All of those days,
Perpetual darkness and gloom.
Did the sun not ever shine?
It must have.
It must have.
Didn’t it?
I just don’t remember.
I just don’t.
Why is that I wonder?
All those years.
Even when I look back now,
It’s rain I remember
And nothing much else.
But I’m sure there must have been more.
Wasn’t there?

© 2010, Tim (P) Prendeville

A Hand To Hold

A short time ago my six-year-old daughter’s teacher told her that she’d soon be old enough to walk to class by herself, and not “drag” her poor dad along all the way from the car. I was within earshot of this at the time and casually smiled it off as a nonoccurrence.  But for some reason this morning it came back to me, and the profoundness and fragility of such an utterance hit me hard.  It occurred to me that I never want my daughter to feel so grown up that she wouldn’t want me to walk somewhere with her.  I never want her to be so grown up that she doesn’t want to hold my hand in front of her friends, or give me a kiss and a hug goodbye in the morning, or be embarrassed by me when I goof around with her in public.  I want to be with her until I take that last walk with her down the aisle, and hand her off to whomever she chooses to be her life partner … and even then, I’ll have problems letting go.

I remember the first morning I saw you
Taking your first peek at the world
And the look of confusion
And a face full of questions
But no fear.

I remember it was raining
A typical Irish day
Though it was June
And in my heart, I knew
That my life was now not my own.

I remember phone calls made and one line texts
Telling those who cared that all was well
Five fingers five toes and eyes that were mine
And making plans to wet the baby’s head
Old Irish traditions live long

I remember Granny
And the first time she held you
In the sun lounge where the sun seldom shines
And her smile speaking volumes
The way only a granny’s smile can

I remember your first day in school
And tears that were shed
And wondering where the years had gone
And why so fast
And becoming fearful of a future without you

I remember all of your days
Your first steps
Your first fall
Your first words
Your first smile
Your first pain
Your first ice cream
Your first everything

When you have grown
And put away those little girl ways
And live in a world of your own making
And no longer need my hand to hold
I hope it is because
I have taught you well.

© 2009, Tim (P) Prendeville

Pancake Tuesday … Irish Style

There’s one day in the year when my two daughters are allowed to let loose on the candy and ensuing sugar rush (although apparently it’s not the sugar that causes the rush) … Super bowl Sunday! … we plan it for weeks, purchasing a variety of candy, chips, soda, and for me, a boat load of chicken wings.  However, this morning, my sister Barbara, now living in Sydney, sent me an email asking if we had had our pancakes today, today being Pancake Tuesday or “Shrove” Tuesday as it is known outside of Ireland.  I had completely forgotten about it.  Fortunately for me though, my Tuesday was only beginning here in California; Sydney, 17 hours ahead of me, had already celebrated the day, and was tucking itself into bed.  Like Scrooge waking on Christmas morning, rejuvenated by fear of futures thwarted, I immediately smiled, thinking about all those Pancake Tuesdays I enjoyed so much growing up in Ireland … and how my mom would stand for hour on end over her little frying pan and make pancake after pancake for us all … and drown it in sugar and lemon juice … I miss those days.
So, why should the Super Bowl be the only non traditional American holiday we celebrate in the California Prendeville Clan?  No reason at all … That being said, I told the girls, still eating breakfast, that dinner today would be Irish pancakes … they couldn’t believe it and immediately began talking excitedly about such an odd occurrence and treat … Pancakes for them are usually a Sunday morning event, something they never seem to tire of … although those pancakes are the kind that come out of a box … Not tonight though … tonight I’ll make them the way my mom used to, all those years ago in our little kitchen on Woodvale Road … our little borough on the outskirts of Cork … Happy Pancake day people!

© 2009, Tim (P) Prendeville


2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups whole milk
2 eggs
1 oz unsalted butter
Additional butter for frying
granulated sugar
lemon juice

1. Beat the milk and eggs together in a bowl. In another bowl, sift the flour and salt together; add half the milk and egg mixture, stirring constantly.
2. Melt the butter and whisk it in. Whisk in the rest of the remaining milk and egg mixture.
3. Allow the batter to stand at least two hours.
4. Melt 1 tbs butter in frying pan, add 1/4 cup batter and tip until the pan is evenly coated. Keep the pan moving as you cook to prevent sticking. When the underside is golden brown, flip the pancake and cook the other side.
Slide onto an oven proof platter; sprinkle with sugar and lemon juice and then, roll up.
Keep warm in a 300 degree oven until ready to serve.

The Apple Trees

When I was born my parents planted a tree
It came to be known as my tree.
They planted five in all
And each was named.
They have grown much since then
And as if to mimic life,
Some are big
Some are small
Some reach high
Some not so tall
But the roots in each are strong.
In summer they all bear fruit
And limbs grow heavy.
But branches long since merged
Have made them strong
Intertwined like vines on a wall.
In years past the fruit was always used
But these days it often spoils
Resigned to blanket a garden no longer played in.
The sights and sounds of autumn are familiar.
Birds busying themselves with plans for winter
Hopping from tree to tree comparing notes
All the while whistling a tune.
A final clearing of the garden
One more cut and raking of the lawn
Each tree a trimming of its branches
Seasonal changes bring seasonal chores.
Winter paints its own picture
The lonely months.
The trees are without life
There is no fruit
There are few birds to speak of
They are alone with themselves
With visitors very few
Save the crows that never leave.
Spring again the garden feels renewed
The trees begin to bloom with life returned
Shaking off Jack Frost and winter slumber
They stretch.
Another year has passed
The trees have grown
But I remember them when they were small.
Sometimes … I wish they still were.
© 2007, Tim (P) Prendeville