excerpt from Maintenance Drinker in the New Age
Rathlin Patrick Penny – my Grandad – was Catholic Irish.
Went to Church only a few times in his life.
He’d thrash anyone who scorned or doubted his belief.
Certain aspects of the religion was imprinted on him at birth.
Took advantage of those rules or rituals which aided him, ignored them that din’t.
Old Da was a proud con man by professional inclination.
Under the protection of St. Dismas – patron of criminals and undertakers.
The feast day of this saint is March 25.
‘Lucky’- as my grandfather was known – celebrated it as though it were his birthday.
Wishing everyone a Merry Dismas – handing out Dismas cards.
The local priest was a drinking buddy.
Granma Pen said that this fellow had a hollow leg.
(A description I came to understand viscerally when I took up the glass myself.)
He and Lucky closed down many a bar with a knock down drag out brawl.
After which the priest absolved them both.
Old Da loved Absolution.
Granma Pen was a rigorous believer.
She condemned anyone who wasn’t Catholic as Hell bound.
The Hades of her imagination was only slightly worse than the life her Almighty had in store for her.
Existence was a revolve of retribution, punishment, confession then penance.
Ring around the rosary.