Our garden becomes overgrown in places each summer … the soil is fertile and plants (weed and non-weed alike) grow like wildfire. Lost, mislaid or discarded items are soon forgotten, until exposed by the autumn leaf-fall and winter wilt.

Today it is pleasant, sunny and spring-like in this part of rural Ireland – just the sort of day when Sean would have insisted, through the years, that I come out and kick a football on the lawn with him. The two of us would have stood in goals at opposite ends and taken shots at each other, sportingly offering encouragement and praising our opponent’s efforts. Sean was much better in goals than me, so he generally scored more, although we were roughly equal in the shooting department.

I walked round the garden this morning and picked up several old footballs in varying stages of decrepitude, as well as a couple of basketballs, a furless tennis ball and a down-at-heel Frisbee. Relics of good times …

Long summer nights and weekend afternoons when a motley crew possibly drawn from men and women, neighbourhood children and/or visiting cousins would play hard-fought matches, and the shouting and laughter could be heard up and down our road.

Sean always took them seriously (too seriously at times), always wanted to win, and never wanted to stop – he would have played all night if he could. After one team reached the agreed winning total of 10 goals, say, he wanted to play on to 15, then 20, even if it was getting too dark to see. He was also the persuasive organizer, calling to neighbours’ houses to enlist recruits.

Sean and I had many good physical battles, as we were almost always on opposing sides. And then there was the one-on-one patio football – also highly competitive – which could be played even on cold winter nights.

The footballs don’t look like much now, but each has its own story of glorious comebacks, spectacular goals, last-ditch tackles, amazing saves, disappointment and elation …

Those were the days. We won’t see them again.



Filed under Death, Ireland, Memories, Sport

6 responses to “Relics

  1. Cymbeline

    Anyone with that number of lost balls in their garden has had a very fun time indeed. I am sure that you can still hear the shouts and the laughter when you look at them. You have collected those balls as you are collecting your memories. They make a picture.

  2. papaguinea

    Brendano – these “relics” are the earthly signs of times gone by and pleasures spent. Spring may come again but in another field. Seasons turn anew and new balls will be kicked; make sure one or two will have your signature on it! I was saddened on thinking about the emptiness of that field together with your recollections and memories. But today on my part, I roll you a new ball. May the shouts and laughter echo anew.

    • Thank you for that, PapaG. There will always be shouts and laughter, but … perhaps not for a while within earshot of where I now sit.

      The heyday of children’s play in this cluster of homes has passed for now. There are no more teams to be carefully selected and weighed. But it was great while it lasted.

  3. Shermeen

    One of the best blogs you have written for Sean. I read it yesterday but did not comment; could not.
    The photo and the blog tell a very real and touching story of familial love and fun.
    I am heartened that although the old balls sit amongst dry, withered leaves, sunshine is falling on them, brightening their vivid colours. Tomorrow is full of hope and peace for you and your family.

  4. Hello Shermeen … thank you very much for the kind words.

    Yes, I do believe that tomorrow is full of hope and peace. We are working to make it that way.

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