Denis Lehane: Worn clothes and broken fences

Bad day at the office, couldn't get to the church on time.

I have been let down badly by the readers of this paper. Indeed, so brutal was the betrayal that I seriously considered abstaining from writing for the week.

But then I changed my mind.

So count yourselves very lucky that it isn’t a blank page ye are forced to read today. I could so easily have done nothing.

And the reason for my pain is all to do with a heartfelt plea I made here on this very page last week.

My plea was as simply as myself. All I was seeking was an old suit of clothes.

A loan of a suit for one day only, so that I might look dashing for my child’s Communion.

It wasn’t as if I was looking for the keys of the kingdom, or even the keys of the tractor. I was only a half decent suit, something that most fellows should have hanging around the wardrobe.

And what was th e response?

Was I inundated with suits? Was I like a rural Louis Copeland based out here on the farm in Kilmichael, up to my eyeballs in swanky jackets and in-season trousers?

Of course I wasn’t.

Sure isn’t that the reason I’m so upset?

My wardrobe remained as bare as it did before my heartfelt plea.

Not one single garment was shoved my way. Never mind a suit of clothes, not even a pair of worn out socks or old underpants were tossed in my direction. Never before in the history of the world has a man been

ignored to such a degree.

If I was depending on the readers of this paper to kit me out, I would have been forced to go to the Communion in a very embarrassing state.

So there I was on the morning of the Communion with tears in my eyes and I tearing the place asunder, attempting to find something classy to wear. Then all of a sudden, didn’t the phone ring?

It was a neighbour of mine and, naturally enough, I assumed he had come to my rescue. Here he was just at the last minute, offering me a nice Magee double-breasted suit, I suspected. 

But alas and alack, ’twas no suit at all was on his mind only a bullock of mine that he had spotted out on the road, and he doing the devil of harm.

And how did he know the animal was from this farm? Well, because he had all the telltale signs of my ownership. He had butts of horns, he had the half hungry, half-castrated look in his eye.

“He’s your bullock all right,” says he, “all the women are afraid of him.”

Left with little choice, I had to hit the road in an attempt to return the runaway to captivity. 

I needn’t tell you there was plenty of roaring, shouting, waving of sticks and shoving of old pallets into worn down ditches before we finally managed to corral the rambling hoor.

So by the time I finally managed to get myself to the church, the Communion was well under way. And while those attending, including my Grace, looked beautiful, I was like someone who had dragged himself backwards through a hedge.

For that is exactly what I had been doing.

If only I was wearing a top-notch suit, I thought to myself as I entered the church, I could make my excuses for my lateness, being delayed at the office, or that my secretary had forgotten to buzz me. 

But as things stood, I had no suit worth a damn to dazzle the masses and cover me in glory, I was let down by the readers, it will be a while before I recover.

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