I have been attempting to link this post with the lovely Jaime from The Olivers Madhouse for a couple of weeks now, but I have been holding off while I attempted to track down some very old photographs. Unfortunately nobody can find them, so I have decided to go ahead and post my Magic Moment without them.
At the age of 18 and just 2 days after passing my driving test, my dad threw his car keys over to me and asked me if I wanted to go and collect my mum from work. He always finished work before her and he would go every evening to collect her, this particular evening he entrusted his car to me.
My dad in his younger days was a guitarist and singer in a band. I’m not talking Pink Floyd or Led Zeppelin, but nevertheless they were a popular local group and played at venues all over the island of Ireland. He was a bit of clown and usually after a show, they would all get drunk and then somehow make their way home. My mum used to despair, because daddy would arrive home with all manner of waifs and strays. I remember him bringing home a German tourist who had got drunk along with them and couldn’t remember where his hotel was. A nice thing to do, yes, however, the German could speak about 3 sentences of English, my dad could speak about 3 sentences of German and their were 5 children in our house and no spare bedroom. We all got up in the morning to find some strange German man sleeping on the sofa.
Then there was the occasion when we all got woken at 3am, by strange noises in our back garden. My mum was on the verge of phoning the police, fearing a burglar was attempting to break in, when she realised it was daddy. He came into the kitchen carrying an 8ft artificial rubber plant in an enormous pot – a present for my mum! It turned out they had all got drunk in the hotel they were playing at and my father had stolen this plant and brought it home. To this day he has no idea how he got it out of the hotel without anyone seeing him or how the hell he managed to carry this thing 2 miles home. I remember my mum kicking him out of bed at 8 the next morning and forcing him to return the plant. Sober, he of course couldn’t move it, so he phoned a friend with a van to help him. We found out recently that the plant was never taken back, his friend kept it instead! So if you are a County Antrim hotelier who lost an 8ft rubber plant 30 years ago – it was my dad, he stole it
Anyway, off I went that evening to collect her. She got into the car and as we drove along she pushed the cassette into the tape player (yes, that’s how long ago it was, does anyone even own a tape player anymore!) a song came on, a song by Foster & Allen, a song called “I will Love You All My Life”. Definitely not my taste in music and I was on the verge of ejecting it, when my mum said “Your dad sings this to me every evening when he picks me up” I looked at her and she had a little smile and wistful look on her face. I didn’t eject the song “her song”. There was a verse that went “Something foolish happens and you see. In the middle of it all there’s me” I actually laughed inwardly and thought “Yep daddy that’s you”
But that’s when it happened, that’s when I had a Magic Moment. That’s when suddenly for the first time in my life, I stopped looking at my parents as “just my parents”. That’s when I saw them as “people” if you know what I mean. I saw the young, handsome, roguish, singer who won the heart of the pretty girl in Capri pants. I saw her put up with his foolish antics because she loved him. I saw them marry and have 6 daughters, I saw them survive the tragic loss of one of those daughters. I saw him love his lady completely and her love her man. I saw them, even though at that stage they were in their fifties still in love with each other. I saw them for the first time in 18 years in a completely different light, they weren’t dull, boring “only my parents” at all.
They are now both in their seventies and he still sings that song to her now and again