A story from the Liverpool Rambles, collected and retold by Anna Maria Murphy
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I told me mam I was meeting Cathleen under Dickie Lewis’s. You know the one mam? Statue on Lewis’s department store?
Course I know it, she said. I used to meet your father there. Now girl, don’t you be looking upwards. I never looked up at it. Always wore a hat if I met your pa under that. Always wore a hat anyway.
Naked man that statue. Would make you blush.
Course I wasn’t meeting Cathleen, I was meeting Jimmy. But I couldn’t tell her that, cos he was a prod, and I wasn’t.
Definitely couldn’t tell me pa. I told Cathleen and she said I was an ejeet for meeting Jimmy, but that her lips were sealed and that god the father and the holy mother would strike her down if she breathed a word and that she knew I would do the same for her, but that she would never be so daft as to court a prod but love hath no dominion.
I said to her, don’t you mean death will have no dominion Cathleen?, and she said well love could be like death in her experience but that make sure his breath didn’t smell of porter, or worst of all, the whisky, and that if his breath was sweet I would probably be alright as you could be with a prod.
I was going to say I’d already tasted his breath in the form of a kiss, and that it was sweet, but I thought better of it.
I didn’t know that Jimmy was a prod when I met him, because of course they look the same as everyone else, and it’s the same god and all, except there’s more chance to sin with us, as some thoughts can be sin, but it’s hard to stop them sometimes or hard to know if some thoughts are a sin or not.
Me mam had thirteen of us, but two died, so that’s eleven, but thirteen in the house if you count ma and pa.
I heard ma tell Mrs O’Rourke once by the privy that she’d never seen pa with no clothes on, and Mrs O’Rouke said she’d only seen Mr O’Rourke once in that manner and she’d never cared too again. Mrs. O’Rourke only had the five children even though father Hennessey had been round to ask if all was well in that department.
I asked ma what department was that? Lewis’s? Ma gave me a slap round the head for giving out to her, but I didn’t know why.
I’m getting married next week. Not to Jimmy though , because pa found out and Jimmy’s pa found out and they met on Everton Brow by the lock-up and words were spoken and pa’s nose was broken but pa said you should have seen Jimmy’s pa’s nose if you thought his was bad.
I’m marrying Patrick O’Donal. His breath isn’t as sweet as Jimmy’s but he’s a good man for all that. Or so I’m hoping.
Cathleen says I should go to Dickie Lewis’s and look up at the statue on the night before the wedding so I will know what to expect. She said she didn’t, and now she’s got three, two boys, one girl, but that it had been a shock on the wedding night and she wished she’d looked up.
So I’m here now, and about to look up.
I’m looking up now, and oh jeesus, he’s beautiful and his arms are up-stretched and it makes me think of Jimmy for a moment, so I feel sad, but then it’s gone and I hope Patrick O’Donal will let me see him, all of him, and he can see all of me, because if it’s on Dickie Lewis’s for all the street to see, including father Hennessey, then it can’t be a sin can it?
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