3 Mary

Mar 16th, 2008 | By | Category: Writing

A tough woman writes to her cousin Lizzie

Dear Lizzie,

It’s a long time since I heard any news from home. I hope all is well with you. I’m sure wee John is getting big now.

I wish I was back at home again. It’s strange here. The people are OK, but I don’t understand most of them. Joe says, from what he hears, we can come back soon.

Lizzie, don’t believe half those stories you have heard about what happened to us. There wasn’t much fun on the way, I’m telling you.

Sixty miles, it was. ‘It’s not so far’, says Joe, trying to cheer me up. Maybe not so far if you have transport, but we had to walk, and walking when you’re nine months pregnant is no joke, I’m telling you.

We get there and the place is packed with people, hardly a place to sit down let alone stay the night. Anyway, it was cold and dark and no-one would give us a bed, so we end up in this shack that they use for the animals at night time. It was very smelly, but we had to rest somewhere.

Doesn’t the baby go and arrive in the middle of it all. Not much of a place to be born, I’ll tell you. Joe coped OK, but it was no fun, Lizzie, don’t believe it was easy.

There were a few local fellas who heard about what had happened and called in with us, rough guys down from the hills, and there was a dazzling light for a while. It was a bit like a dream.

Anyway, I’m not feeling the best afterwards and Joe decides we might stay on in the town for a while. It being his family’s home, he knew people here and there. Once the crowd had gone we got a nice little place to stay in and Joe soon had plenty of work.

We would have stayed on, but things began to happen again. It must have been almost two years that we were there. We were getting used to the place and getting to know people and the child was running around the place, when these foreigners arrived one day.

They weren’t like anyone I had seen before, very exciting but also scary. The neighbours were very suspicious, you can’t be too careful these days. Course, it was the child they had come to see and they brought him beautiful presents, things the like of which I’d never seen before.

The foreigners were very jumpy and left very soon after they’d arrived. Then Joe said that we must leave too, for the child’s safety. So that’s how we come to be here. It’s a good place to be, but I’d like to be at home again amongst my own people.

There are times, Lizzie, when I wonder about all this. Of course, I don’t doubt, but I wonder. Born in a dirty shack miles from home, with only a few old farmers even knowing it happened; living in a strange town where only foreigners realize who he is; being chased from his own country because even as a toddler, he is considered a danger. Lizzie, who is there who will believe he is the Messiah?

I don’t know. I’m just looking forward to being at home again.

Your loving cousin


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  1. Ian I hope you are Podcasting these stories.

    This one sounds good in a Dublin accent.

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