Sinking feeling as Denis heads for a big birthday

Fifty is a big age, especially for a young man like me. Sure I’m hardly a grown-up at all, and they are telling me I’ll be 50 soon, writes Denis Lehane
Sinking feeling as Denis heads for a big birthday
A meeting with his bank manager gives Denis a sinking feeling as he heads for a big birthday.
A meeting with his bank manager gives Denis a sinking feeling as he heads for a big birthday.

Fifty is a big age, especially for a young man like me.

Sure I’m hardly a grown-up at all, and they are telling me I’ll be 50 soon.

It’s an age when a fellow starts to realise he might have only 50 good years left. It’s an age when a fellow must finally put his best foot forward. So I was in with the bank manager Tuesday, telling him I’m half interested in getting back into cows.

“Very good,” says he, opening up a large ledger.

I told him that I might start off with 100 cows and work up to 400 over the next 20 years. “My aim,” I proudly boasted, “is to be milking 800 cows in 40 years time.”

“Excellent stuff,” says he.

“You’ll need funding so?”

“Oh God, yes,” says I, rubbing my hands with glee, “bundles of it. I’ll want a parlour of the first order,” I insisted, “one that can milk the cows by itself.”

And my back manager nodded his head in an understanding sort of manner. Here clearly was a man well versed on what makes a farm tick. “I’ll need a first-class yard too,” I declared. “Concrete all the way. And a roof that covers most of it, for I do hate the rain.

“I’ll want a powerful fencer also. Not only one that has shock enough to stun man or beast, but is mobile enough to make its own way down the field.

“You’ll need cows, I suspect?” The smart banker prompted, as he crunched the numbers.

“Oh yes,” I agreed. “Top cows. Cows with five paps instead of four, so I can get that extra bit of production out of them.”

“Are we talking about genetics here?” he asked, getting most intrigued.

“We are talking about whatever can give a cow five paps,” I insisted.

“I will be looking for an easy calving bull too, an Angus that will throw bull calves with an ass on them like Jennifer Lopez.”

“I like where you are going,” says he.

“I do too,” I responded.

“And finally I want a bulk tank with the capacity to hold up to a week of milk, for I don’t want to be troubled with the noise of a milk lorry every second morning. I want grass also that grows all year round.”

“Fantastic stuff,” says he, totting it all up.

“Ok, here’s an outline of the repayments we will require,” says he shoving a piece of paper in my direction. “If I could get your signature down below, I’ll get the last of the paperwork out of the way.”

“Very good,” says I. “And just for the record, how old are you?” he queried. “I’m nearly 50,” says I taking out my reading glasses to go through the fine print. “50!” he roared. “Sure I thought you were only about 23.”

“Yerra, no,” says I, laughing, “my black hair can fool people sometimes. Sure wasn’t I in school with your father.”

“But that changes everything, Mr Lehane,” says he, closing his ledger.

“But why?” I huffed, putting down my reading glasses, and putting on my regular glasses.

“Because you are just too damn old.”

“What do you mean?” says I, failing to grasp the thing.

“According to your plans, you are hoping to be milking 800 cows by the age of 90!”

“Not hoping,” says I, “aiming. There a lot of life left in me yet!”

“That may be true,” says he, “but there isn’t a bank in the country will support your extraordinary aims! You’re simply too old to have such ambition.”

So, as my 50th approaches faster than a noisy sneeze clears a busy shop, I’m beginning to think that it will be all downhill from there.

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