Tom Moloney recalls how his grandfather saw a runaway WWII plane crash into the fields nearby…
Autumn. A screeching sound pierced the evening air and heralded my arrival. Flung unceremoniously from my carriage seat, I was pitched forward from darkness into light.
I awoke with a jolt and burst from sleep, gasping for breath like a submerged diver bursting through the surface. The train stopped suddenly, shuddering violently to a halt before conceding to its loss of propulsion. I imagined that the sudden stop was the work of an overenthusiastic trainee driver who had become too smitten with the shiny brake levers. I rummaged around my seat for my stuff, gathering up my phone, bag, hat and jacket, before shuffling off the train onto the platform at Thurles station.
“Not what I bargained for,” was the first thought that sprung to mind as I spied my uncle Jim and his 80-something-year-old neighbour, Jack. Welcoming parties are normally welcome, but I was not expecting Jack, a man who steered all conversation towards the ‘old days’, the Emergency period, and enduring the War Years.
My uncle nodded knowingly at me and raised his eyes towards heaven as he glanced quickly in Jack’s direction. My original plan of grabbing a 15-minute nap in the car en-route to my uncle’s farm was swept away like pebbles in the path of a crashing wave.
“Tough times, the Emergency, but everyone pulled together; we helped one another, and somehow we all pulled through. We didn’t have much but we were happy nonetheless.”
Jack looked lean; like a man who had worked hard at farming all his life. However, he was not subdued by life’s struggles and retained a level of vitality that was impressive for someone his age.
His clothes were old-fashioned but he looked quiet smart in a white shirt and a lime green tie.