Longford Leader columnist Mattie Fox: Meandering of our melancholic mind

Longford Leader


Longford Leader



Mattie Fox

Longford Leader columnist, Mattie Fox

From time to time, our melancholic mind meanders back towards childhood.

It can be a dangerous thing to engage in, as one’s thoughts can turn to things, people, places that are gone now, never to return.

Luckily something in the human psyche can manage those thoughts in a way that allows remembrance to be balanced by the common sense overriding information that this is part of the cycle of life.

Recently, in the past week, visiting the graveyard and then the home house, thoughts turned to two incidents from childhood.

One was a photograph taken by my mother, on a very sunny day, when I sat as a baby in the front of an asses cart. It’s a photograph that defines the time, place, and proud attitude of a mothers love.

That was probably sixty four years ago.

Another world, another time, another set of principles to aspire to.

The second incident happened when I was probably six or seven years old. Mammy taught me a song, the very first song I ever learned.

A White Sports Coat, and a Pink Carnation.

I couldn’t remember who recorded it, hadn’t a clue, although at the time it was recurring in what’s nowadays called “heavy rotation” on RTE Radio.

Anyway, I looked it up, and You Tube informed me that it was sung by Marty Robbins. Strange I’d forgotten completely that he ever sang the song. Not only that, but he also composed the piece.

Recorded on January 25, 1957, and released on Columbia records.

So yes, I was in my seventh year. Not yet seven.

I can recall quite clearly my mother repeating over and over the words….

“A white sports coat, and a pink carnation,

I’m all dressed up for the dance,

A white sports coat and a pink carnation,

I’m all alone in romance”

The teaching in the garden meant I could memorise it by the afternoon.

That was a day when she was working at the flower bed that graced the front end of the house, and there she’d tend the dahlias, pansies, nasturtiums in the clay filled area that was nurtured regularly.

Sunny day, it seemed at the time that we had real long summers, with blazing sunshine that went on for ages. I’m sure it wasn’t that long, but when you’re six, every year is still hovering between one fifth and one sixth of life’s duration.

When one becomes sixty eight, every year is a mere eight percent.

For the rarity who lives to be a hundred, a year becomes one percent of life’s duration.

Nothing changes perspective like the passage of time.

Remembering my mother, and father, we had a fantastic time growing up.

Happy, content, always busy, but totally without care.