Tha Deh Auld John wus ca’ed Aw a’ Tae Glory

Author: Wee Charlie

Date: 1998

Source: Ullans: The Magazine for Ulster-Scots, Nummer 6 Simmer 1998


“Wee Charlie”

It wus yin o’ them coorse soart o’ dehs that auld John sa’ whun he ruz an lucked oot tha winda, but John thocht tae hissel, efther a’ it wus tha hinntheren’ o’ Navember an’ monies a’ time he had sa’ warse, lake tha wunter in tha Forties whun he had wrocht on the Relwey an’ tha wee nerra’ gauge line had bain blocked fir ower twa months wey snaw drifts, an’ they had wrochted deh an nicht tae try get it redd but it jest kept fa’in’, an’ then of coorse tha bastes had bain ither biried alive or sterved tae death, noo that wus a bad wunter.

John hadnae shut his een fir maist o’ the nicht fir it had bain brav an’ rugh, an’ wey tha wun daen its best tae pu’ the auld hoose sinthery it wus nae wundther. Twa ither things had kep tha auld bein’ frae gane tae sleep a’ nicht, tha auld dry coch but mair than that tha penn wus bak in his breest. Noo this penn had bain thar aff an’ on fir tha last wheen o’ weeks, John thocht it wus lakely bekas he had baen waa’lin’ tha prootas fir a nighbourin’ fermer, an’ efther a’ he wus eighty-six year auld.

Auld John gaen himsel a bit o’ wash wey caul wather in tha ja-box as his faithfu’ wee scottie doag ca’ed Bounce run roon his feet wey delight. John niver bothered wey tha shavin’ as it wusnae the Sabbath an’ efther a’ wha’ wud see him onywiy. He then pit a wheen o’ peats intae tha auld Rayburn an’ afore lang it wus burnin’ weel as he had banked it up wey slack tha nicht afore. By the time tha kettle wus singin’ auld John had scraped tha big pan an’ wus maakin’ creeshed breid an’ a guid double yocked egg tae pit him in guid trim fir tha task he had in his heid fir tha deh afore him. Efther he had finished his male an’ a guid cup o’ tay he pit on tha rest o’ his claes an’ laced up tha’ auld boots, wey that dane he gaen tha wee doag a bite an redd up tha wee wheen o’ dishes. Afore pu’in’ on his auld coat an’ kep he got tha weel worn tabaka pooch frae his pokit an’ shane had tha auld briar pipe reekin awa’ lake a guid yin. Wi’ that he went in ahint tha doar an’ tuk tha auld bow sa’ an’ a wee hatchet he had sherpened tha nicht afore as he had sut in front o’ tha fire wi’ his wee animal freen. As John went oot intae the loanan, the doag run on roon tha en’ o’ tha hoose tae sport itsel, John thocht aboot tha bygone years whun it had baen o’ a’ sae different, Mary had baen leevin an tha bairns had a baen rinnin’ aboot deivin’ his heid, he missed Mary and the bairns, he thocht tae himsel that he wud a laked tha femelie tae hae visited him mair but hooiniver he wus gled that they did ca’ noo an’ again and then of coorse he had a docther that ca’ed in maist dehs tae see if he wus aricht.

John surveyed tha pile o’ thoarn runts that tha fermer up tha road had kerted doon tae him ither deh, he thocht tae himsel that when he wud get them sa’ed they wud mak quere firin’ for tha caul nichts aheid. He relit tha auld pipe an’ as an’ odd wee taste o’ stoor blew roon the peat stak he started tae sa’, the doag ley in tha shilter o’ an’ auld peat borrow that ley on its side in below tha eves o’ the auld hamestead. John kerried on sa’in stappin’ noo an’ again tae stoke up tha pipe an’ tae wave tae tha postman wha went doon tha wee moss road at tha bak o’ tha hoose. Apert frae the odd fermer gane doon tha road on a tractor John sa’ naebodie fir maist o’ tha mornin’, the doag tuk an odd race thro’ tha bushes efher a moose or a rat so he wus happy. Tha auld man lucked noo an’ again at tha wee stak o’ firin’ that he wus getherin’ as tha wun sterted tae rise, an’ as tha penn in his breest wus nae ony better he thocht he micht as weel ca’ it a deh an’ go in tha hoose an’ mak a bite o’ meat tae tha docther Sarah ca’ed. He made in tha hoose an lucked at tha clock on tha mantlepiece, it wus efther twelve, so he sut doon efther he put twa peats on tha range, he sut doon on tha auld ermchair an’ started tae louse his boots, then penn hut him an’ he fa’ed bak intae tha chair wi’ a gaisp, the wee doag keenied an’ lucked at his auld mester as if he ken somethin’ wus wrang, but thar wusnae naethin’ wrang, an’ naethin onybodie cud dae, fir that wus tha deh auld John wus ca’ed awa’ tae Glory.

Noo tha mair monies a’ year hes gane by sin that deh, A still am sair vexed at tha thocht that A didnae ca’ tae see him mair aften, an’ noo A ken jest hoo much A miss him an’ tha weel A laked mae Grandfaither. Sae if A iver get in tha Pearly Gates ye kan be sure yin o’ tha freens A’ll be luckin’ fir will be mae Grandfaither.

New Book

A new novel — “Wake the Tribe O Dan”, by Philip Robinson, has just been published by the Ullans Press. It is a funny, racey story about a fictitious Ulster-Scots community where traditions are invented to please the “Ministry of Culture”.

Available from the Ulster-Scots Heritage Council, telephone xxxxx xxxxxx



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