Monday, July 09, 2007

Rule Britainia!



In the words of Tom Lehr, "Reminds me of the day..."

I was at the Monterey Celtic festival celebrating my 60th birthday when I saw this Union Jack. It fluttered in the breeze, defiantly I thought. It brought back a memory.

Many years ago my room mate from college, my then wife and I were in New York City, somewhere around 2nd and 23rd as I recall. We wandered into an Irish bar of which there are a profusion in that neighborhood. A fella sat on a stool playing the guitar and singing "The Men Behind the Wire," an ode to the "boys" held in H Block.

It was the time of "The Troubles" in Northern Ireland. Naive lot that we were, we had wandered into an IRA bar where they raised money for arms. Fortunately we had spent several hours prior to this stop consuming adult beverages in other establishments.

After the crooner completed this tune and several more, and we were fortified with yet another pitcher of beer, this time Guiness, we thought we would offer our own tuneful contribution to the festivities.

My room mate and I rose to our feet and belted out the chorus to "Rule Britainia."

There was a stunned silence.

I gathered up my wife and the three of us beat a hasty retreat to the street and made our escape.

How on earth did I live to see 60?

3 comments:

mal said...

lol, you were lucky to see the next few seconds indeed John! lol

I spent the first 5 years of my life in Belfast and laterly Banbridge not far from Belfast. I am now 41, so from 66-71 and was just at the start of the major problems. My mother still recalls that my fav games to play were soldiers and baracades. I still have family in Belfast and visit regularly. The sectarianism is alive and thriving, such a shame for such a beautiful place.

I can see why the union flag brought back those memories, just glad that you made it out to tell the story! lol

mal said...

Oh! ps.

A little known fact (even in the UK) is that the union flag only becomes the "Union Jack" aboard a ship at sea.

all the best. mal

William said...

ah, the subtle effects of one too many

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