A June day, close to midsummer, and everybody is out wandering the streets of the Old Town, smelling out the ghost of the Old Jew and the young Irish boy who followed him around. Perhaps if they're lucky catching a glimpse of the ever so eternally lovely Molly as she lies stretched out on her bed with her memories of youth. I'm sitting in the saloon bar, a thick black pint with a puddle of water forming underneath as the heat of the day meets the coolness of the glass causing it to rain the tears that won't come out of my not-quite-drunk-enough eyes.
This is as close as I'll be getting to Ireland, sitting in some pub full of rotting republican slogans, made all the stupider because none of the regulars have been back to Ireland for five generations, since their families came over to dig that canal that runs from here up to the capital. They dumped the typhoid victims here on the way to Toronto and inland. The ones who the nuns nursed back to life went on to dig the damn canal and spew their seed all the way along the waterfront to populate most of the South East of Ontario with their progeny.
But still they gather in the pub and sing songs from a hundred years ago about people and places of which they know nothing. They celebrate their Catholicism while condemning those who control them, not seeing the irony of how it's the church and its progeny that have conspired to hold them down just as much as the "damned to hell British Prots". Seventy years ago the same bunch would have been running down Mr. Jim as a filthy turncoat and anti-Catholic for saying "Ireland is like a sow eating her own…" - meaning that she swallows them all whole with not much left, no not even skin and bone, to spit out at the end of time and the day. But now they embrace him with the spirit of blind nationalism and raise stupid pints every mid-June day and swear fealty to a Jew and his wife because he wrote about them.
But that doesn't change the fact that I've got to leave this damned bar and face the curse of the midday sun in June, with it boring a hole in my brain pan that won't be repaired until I'm well past four decades. Now I haven't been paying any attention to what's been on the music coming our from behind the barman's shoulder. As long as a mention of a County or two can be heard over the babble of noise, nobody much seems to care what comes squawking out of the tin boxes that carry tunes.