When Parades go wrong.

Saint Patrick’s day Hell!

That was the headline on the front page. There was a photo too.  It showed a man, wearing a Leprechaun’s hat and a fake ginger beard, giving a breath sample to the Police.

The man was me.

Saint Patrick’s day in our house was always a big occasion. We would start the day with Mass and then on to the local parade. It still is a big day but it has a bitter taste, for me at least, since “the wee hiccup”. That’s how the polite people of my town refer to it. At least that’s what they call it when I am within earshot.

Being the pillar of society that I am, I was asked if I would donate my services and truck for the parade. The truth is I didn’t want to do it. Not that I don’t like to help out, but rather I don’t like being in the public eye. It’s just the way I am. But anyway I said “Yes.” Because that’s what Yes Men do.

So, on the day prior to the parade I pulled the side curtains (tarpaulins) right back and the local Arts and Crafts club went to work.  I have to hand it to them. When they were finished it really looked the part. The idea was that it would be a showcase for their work; Knitted jumpers, Paintings, Paper mache sculptures and the like.

The day came and there were about a dozen kids and two adults on our float. All beavering away on their sewing machines and spinning wheels and what have you. The crowds were clapping and cheering like they were in New York. I was even getting in on the act as we went along, giving the odd wave or tooting the air horn.

This ‘Float Driver’ lark was a first for me, so I can be forgiven for making the fatal mistake. With all the excitement I had forgotten to fill up with Diesel. The first I knew about it was when it was too late.

It wouldn’t have been so bad if the engine had just stopped. We could have gotten a tow from the float in front. But it didn’t just stop. It started to air-lock, on and off, offering me false hope that I might make it to the end of the parade at least.

To put it into layman’s terms, when a machine is running out of fuel she starts to Chug. And boy did this baby chug! She chugged so much that one of the children fell off, but landed on his feet thank God. The other kids were clinging on for dear life. In fact, one of the adults almost lost an eye with a knitting needle.

Of course I was oblivious to any of this until I had nursed the truck off down the nearest side street. I thought the two adults would have had the sense to get the children to sit down when the chugging started. They don’t make adults like they used to. When I did park up I could hear the crying which I hadn’t been able to hear over the Marching Band.

Next thing I knew there was a crowd gathered around snapping photos of the crying children. To be honest it looked as if a Tsunami had struck the float. And of course low and behold the Gardai (Police) show up and inform me that under Section something or other of the road traffic act they are obliged to ask me for a sample of my breath. I wouldn’t have minded but I knew the two cops personally. I suppose they were only doing their job.

And then the local newspaper the following day made it look like I was the Grinch who stole Saint Patrick’s day. Journalism is a dirty word in my house since then.

But time is a healer and maybe in a few more decades they will allow me to forget the wee hiccup.


Thank you for reading



13 thoughts on “When Parades go wrong.

  1. Haha! Thank you! What a sad, hilarious tale. I am so sorry for the embarrassment. Your wife must have a great sense of humor. I love St. Patty’s. Around here it is our favorite parade day. You can certainly spin a tale. I think you are a wonderful writer. 🙂

  2. Oh man, I hardly ever get the chance to laugh any more and I LIKE to! Since most of my family died and/or went senile, and my best friend Denis Joseph Francis Callahan keeled over in a golf truck from a heart attack, life has been seriously missing gorgeous images like kids falling off of trucks and not making grownups like they used to. 😀

    • I am sincerely sorry to hear about Dinny Joe Francie as he would have been known here. 🙂
      And even the surname we would interfere with; Callaghan. 🙂 Always consider the “g” usually comes after an “a” and before a “han” in the ‘old country’ as they call it over there. 🙂
      He was a true Irish with a three barrelled name like that. Cheers to him. He had good taste in friends.

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  7. Hilarious -and sad too. Jolly embarrassing – but so beautifully told, I almost felt as if I were there. Great stuff.

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