'Darcy and O'Mara' is a novel by Arthur Cronin.
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Wednesday, April 06, 2005


The insects are coming out again. Bees in the air and all that. Their good friends the birds are upset about something. You’d think they’d be happy with the changing of the seasons, but for some reason, most of the birds in the garden seem to be fighting with each other. I think the dog is starting to feel left out.

My cousin Mike bought a boat off a man who used to laugh a lot in the pub. He laughed a lot after he sold the boat to Mike, and when Mike woke on the following morning he had a bad feeling about the boat, but it turned out to be in perfect condition. It was actually a bit of a bargain. On one Saturday in July he invited his cousin Hector for a trip on the boat. Mike’s son Scott came along too, and Hector brought his twin daughters, Alice and Grace. Alice was nervous about going out on the boat, but her nerves were eased when she thought of a red sweater she had with an image of a clock on the front of it. She wore that, and she felt much calmer about being on the water then. When they were on the boat, her sister asked her why she was wearing a sweater with a clock on it. She said, “Y’ see...” That’s when she really thought about it, and she couldn’t explain it. She looked at her watch and she realised that she was confusing a clock with a compass. The idea of a sweater with a compass would ease her nerves, but a clock or a watch would be completely useless in determining your position if you got lost on the water. And when she really thought about it, an image of a compass on a sweater wouldn’t help either. She was more nervous than ever, but then she noticed another boat going past them. There was a cow on the boat, and a woman on the boat had a T-shirt with an image of a cow on it. Alice stared at the cow and the cow stared back at her. The cow seemed completely calm, and this made Alice relax again. So the next time they went out on the boat, she wore a sweater with a cow on it and she brought a tiny plastic cow. They found a potato on the boat and the kids made it into a little head - they used buttons for its eyes and a paper clip for the nose. They got the potato head to talk to the plastic cow, but the cow only ever said ‘moo’. They were starting to get bored with this game when a seagull landed on the boat and attacked the potato. Alice held the cow in front of the seagull and said ‘moo’ over and over again. After a few seconds of this, the seagull started to calm down. He stared at the cow. Alice kept saying ‘moo’ and the gull remained completely still. When Mike went down to that end of the boat he didn’t notice the seagull at all. When he spoke, the bird seemed to get a shock. It flapped its wings and looked all around. Mike got a much bigger shock. He stepped backwards and fell overboard. Hector tried to pull him back in, but he fell into the water too. The kids looked over the side as the two of them splashed around in the water. Alice held the cow out and said, “Moo… Mooooo… Mooooooo.” Grace and Scott joined in the mooing. The seagull just looked over the side. Hector and Mike wondered why they were doing this. They stopped splashing about so much and they realised they were in just a few feet of water. They stood up. “See!” Alice said. Hector and Mike both knew that everyone would hear how they were saved in a few feet of water by the kids saying ‘moo’ over and over again, and so it proved. Alice would hold up the cow when the kids told the story.

The moose’s head over the fireplace seems to be trying his best to look out the window. When the wife’s uncle was here, he stood at the window, nodded towards his car outside and said, “Elvis once tried to jump over that, but he missed. At least he said he was Elvis.” I’ve explained to the moose’s head that it was just a car and it probably wasn’t Elvis, but he’s still trying to look out the window. I’ve also told him that the car isn’t even there anymore.