Growing Up Rich

I spotted this on a fellow blogger’s site.
Read it for yourself.


My childhood home was just four rooms heated by a big black stove in the kitchen.  We had no phone, no car, and a pull chain toilet in the basement.  Money was tight and there had to be enough left each month to pay the rent.

I spent my days in youthful endeavors.  Playing baseball in the field where the high school now stands.  My dad, a laborer, walked to work every day regardless of weather.  I cannot remember him ever staying home.  My mom typed envelopes evenings for the local fuel oil company to earn extra money.

At suppertime, my mom would stand on the back steps and ring a cow bell, calling me home.  Every kid in the neighborhood knew what the bell meant.  Responding was not an option.  I would quickly ride my bike home, wash my hands, and join the family at the table.  The food…

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3 in 1. I hope.

3 in 1. I hope.

I hope you are sitting down.  The shock may be too much.

I am a mere mortal. Yes, you read that right, just flesh and bone like you.

I have signed up for another Marathon on June 1st in Derry. That’s about six weeks away but my training has gone to the dogs since I took up blogging. I have a lot of catching up to do.

I have to get the finger out. I need to get back to running twice a day. That means bed by ten and up at six.

I just realised tonight that I follow 120 blogs! I enjoy the reading but everything else is suffering. Running, writing a bestseller, DIY, gardening, etc and all that with an 8 to 4 job in the middle. I have been burning the candle at both ends.

I overheard two of my neighbours speaking about me, the other day.

“Frankie’s house is practically falling down around him, it needs painted, the lawn is knee high, he has bags under his eyes and he’s getting the beer belly back again.” Said one.

“Yeah, but he is a well read man.”

In truth, I didn’t overhear that but I’ll bet that’s what they think.

I am sure all you bloggers have had to make significant changes also.

My plan is this.

I hope to continue to read as many blogs as I can each evening. But I will only post maybe every second or third day. I hope to incorporate the two or three daily prompts into the single post.

I think the prompts are great practice. Just like running, the more one does  it, the easier it gets.

I value any followers or likers or commenters and I will endeavour to hold your attention with my posts. This change of my routine may perhaps go unnoticed to most but I am bringing you up to speed (pun intended) just incase.

One more thing. Windows xp has become obsolete today. My trusty Laptop runs on it. This gave me the excuse to splash out on a new one today. I went for one of those mini laptop/chromebook numbers. Cheap yes, but very versatile, very liebster, and very beautiful, like a certain trucker. It will suit me fine.


It also has a long battery life so I can take it with me to make magic on my lunch break and on long straight stretches of road…ahem.

Thank you for reading,


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Mickey Memory.

Mickey Memory.

There are times when I find myself smiling at a memory.

I will play the memory back in my mind’s eye and without realising it, I am suddenly smiling. Sometimes the memory is some random lady giving me the eye from behind the wheel of her car. A daily occurrence.

It’s usually during those type of memories my wife will go “What are you smiling at?”

Oops! But quick as a flash I go “I’m just thinking about the time we first met.”

She never buys it.

I found myself smiling at a memory today. When I was aged about eight or nine, myself and my two brothers were treated to movie called The Black Stallion.

It was a great movie. I can still see lots of the scenes quite vivid. One of them was a scene where Mickey Rooney is teaching the young lad how to ride a race horse. I can still see him with the invisble reins in his hands telling the boy how to will the horse on, faster and faster.

I found a photo of the scene on google images.


They don’t make movies like this anymore. The new Mickey Rooneys of Hollywood are teaching kids how to get even with guns, not horses.

When I think of Mickey this is always the scene I think of.  I am sure you have your favourite Rooney movie also.

And his smile! Boy o boy!


Thank you for the memory Mickey,


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Holding back the dark.

Holding back the dark.

A very quick post.

My wife and myself were on a tour today with our local History/Heritage and Archaeology group.

While I was going through a few photos, just now, I spotted one which wasn’t planned but, only upon seeing it now, I think it has a message of some sort.


I was acting the maggot pretending to try straighten up the high cross. Look at the sky. Is the Lord hard at work against the dark side? Or is it a sign of rain?

This is the site of one of the first monasteries in Ireland. At first glance all that remain are two large crosses. Here is a feature from the website of my local club. It tells of a recent excavation.

If you are not into ancient history I understand. Personally I find it facinating, especially pre-Christian times, how they lived, thought and died.

I try to spend lots of days in places like this. Roll on summer!

Thank you for reading,


Here are some more from other places today.







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Thank you Cheryl!

Thank you Cheryl!

How d’ya like these apples?

I got a sweet surprise yesterday evening when my best blogging friend and total arty genius, Cheryl from, gave me this little trophy



I am totally worthy of it.

Cheryl is an all rounder. All the arts, it seems, plus she has been very very encouraging to me from day one, as have lots of other bloggers.

I genuinely thrive on encouragement. But don’t spoil me, bloggers. Make me work for it 🙂

The ball is now in my court. I have been granted seven wishes. No awkward question and answer sections attached to this little trophy. All that is required is to nominate seven beautiful bloggers. (note to the male nominees – I think you are beautiful in a non scary way) Timothy offers some great advice and editing help here. Recce has the best running inspiration vids. Jen makes perfect sense. Cassidy is going places. Sue shares her grace and wisdom here. Yazmin is well worth a read. Another Timothy will help you to edit your soul.

All great blogs. It was a very hard to decide on seven. I wish it could have been seventy-seven.

Sincere thanks for reading,



The Emperor’s new clothes.

The Emperor’s new clothes.

Jealously is a female trait.

I can state this with confidence because I am married to one. Some of the things that go on inside the female mind, you would not believe.

Jealousy isn’t an emotion. It’s a disease!

For instance, let’s take a typical car journey. To anywhere. Into town, even.

We are passing some females, jogging, in their lycra shorts.

I spot them before she does. WRONG! She has spotted them long before me.

As we pass them she goes “The one on the inside…is my bum bigger than hers, or would you say the same size?”

Listen up guys, she left out the third option. It’s a trap. Always answer with the third option.

“Hers isn’t big. But yours is smaller.” And I say it with a straight face! I will burn in hell yet.

Leaving my good wife and her tiny bum out of it for a while, let me tell you about some of the females from my job.

I could be delivering to one of my usual grocery stores and happen to strike up a conversation with a girl from the shop next door, while she is out having a cigarette break or whatever. If she happens to make me laugh, God have mercy on her.

“I see you were chatting to that one next door.”

“Yeah, she is funny.” I would answer.

“Don’t be fooled by her. Sometimes she comes in here, to our shop, and she has no manners whatsoever! So cheeky!”

The thing is, I would already have copped on that she was cheeky. Ladies…guys notice things too. We can sort the nice from the nasty.

I have asked my wife just now if she thinks I am a jealous person. She answered “No, definitely not.”

I can’t speak for anybody but myself. I don’t think I suffer from jealousy. I believe that I am exactly where I am supposed to be. I would like to be somewhere else, like a full time writer, but I have a feeling I am right where I am meant to be.

I admire people who succeed in attaining their dream lifestyle. But sometimes I think there is something they are sacrificing. Perhaps even sacrificing normality.

Normality is good, most of the time.

There is a first time for everything. I notice other bloggers ask questions, from time to time. This is my first question. You can lable it jealousy, or stupidity or whichever.

I am only here six weeks and I have missed a lot. Why do some posts which only contain perhaps three sentences get hundreds of Likes?

I am guessing those bloggers have proven their worth umpteen times in the past. But would I be crucified in asking Where are the emperor’s clothes?

I mean I have seen posts which go “Got up this morning. I feel great.” or something like that which have over one hundred Likes in the space of a few hours. Are these homeless people who deserve credit for making a remark like that?

I am not trying to rock the boat. Just interested, jealously, I mean genuinely.

Thank you for reading,


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All five of us stood on the back porch looking at the lawn.

Molly, our youngest, goes “Who would do such a thing?” She was still in shock.

Nobody spoke. Her two older sisters had worked it out. I could feel it. I could sense them working it out. Her Mother knew exactly who did such a thing because it was her big idea to do such a thing. But of course, as always, yours truly ends up holding the smoking gun.

Our back garden has seen some changes through the millenia. It has been under the sea a few thousand years ago; go down six inches and it’s beach sand. It’s been home to a british military camp during the first world war. It was planted out in potatoes after that. It was a grassy field with sheep grazing just before our home was built on it.

I see the sea is coming back again. Shift happens!

One Saturday last year, I was busy with a matter of life and death when my two younger daughters, Grace and Molly, asked it they could borrow my metal detector to “look for buried treasure” in our back garden.  I agreed and continued watching the athletics on telly.

I’m not sure how much time had passed. An hour? Maybe more? I heard a scream coming from the back garden. I then heard Molly’s crying. Funny thing that, parents can recognise one child’s cry from another’s.

I ran outside to discover my lawn now resembled a golf course. There were little sand bunkers dotted all over.  Somebody had been busy.

The girls ran towards me. Just then my wife and eldest daughter arrived back from shopping. Upon seeing her mother, Molly changed course in the blink of an eye and went straight to her mammy. Mothers seem to train them from an early age. It’s called “Run to your favourite.”

Before I go on, let me rewind to an incident three years previous.

On a Christmas morning our pet, Gizmo the cat, was found out along the roadway, stiff as a board. He had been the victim of a hit and run. These things happen when animals live close to roads. Neither my wife nor myself wanted the girls to see Gizmo, in this state, you can imagine.  And with it being Christmas…well, you know.

“Bury it.” My wife ordered.

I obeyed. I picked a spot out of the way, near the back of the garden.

I was slightly emotional, even though I wouldn’t class myself as an animal lover, this didn’t feel right. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it but something inside was telling me this was a mistake. But I buried it anyway.

I think we made up some story to keep the kids happy. Like Gizmo had gone to help Santa in the north pole. Soon after, we obtained a new kitten from a friend in the local pet rescue centre. Everything was hunky-dory, until…

The ghost of Gizmo came back to haunt me that Saturday last year. He had been wearing a collar with a stainless steel name tag. Lovely! Just lovely!

My wife took the girls inside for lemonade and a chat. While I filled in the bunkers. The cat was a mere skeleton now. But sure enough, there it was, his name tag looking up at me, “Gizmo.”

The cat was out of the bag. As usual, I was the bad daddy for a day or two after that. I was the sort of person “who would do such a thing.” I learned my lesson…I should have listened to my gut. I should have buried it in the neighbour’s garden.

Thank you for reading,


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Here’s Johnny!

Here’s Johnny!


“Hold it right there!” She shouted, as she chased me through the forest.

I had no intention of holding it there, or anywhere. I was a fifteen year old fugitive on the run. My crime? Taking the day off to go swimming with friends.

A thought has just occured to me. I can’t remember any rainy days at school! All my memories happened during warm sunny days. Or maybe the Irish weather was simply better back then.

I didn’t care much for any subject on the curriculum. I was handy at some and desperate at others. Whatever I learned happened naturally. It either caught my attention or it didn’t. I wasn’t big into studying in my my spare time. The teachers never really bothered me much, unless to share a laugh.

I was one of those who stayed under the radar, unnoticed for the most part. I had a friend called Mike. He could roll a cigarette with one hand. Now that’s a gift! You can’t teach that.

The both of us had it susssed. We played the system like a grand piano, with two stools. If we wanted to have a day off, we took it! We knew every loop-hole in the attendance records. We took truant and turned it into art. We were the best.

But like all wiseguys there came a day when our goose was cooked.

We were on our way back from a day’s swimming and smoking at a small unused pier outside of town.  Up ahead we saw two females. Mike goes “I’ll have the good looking one.”

“Sure you can, whenever I’m finished with her.” I replied.

“Oh Shit!” said Mike, when he realised it was a sports teacher and her friend.

We jumped over the low stone wall to our left and made our way deep into the forest. To our amazement, they followed.

“Split up.” I said as I ran.

“Good luck.” He answered and disappeared in the opposite direction.

I can still feel my heart pounding as I remember that chase. Running through the dense woods and hearing her untiring footsteps behind me.

“Hold it right there!” She shouted.

She watches too many movies, I thought to myself. I would have shouted “Don’t shoot!” back at her but this was no laughing matter.

I came to a large eight foot high wall. There was a gate equally as high. As I approached at speed I could see it was padlocked.

It’s funny what a person can do when pushed to the limit. I scaled the gate like a commando. The landing was a bit messy but as I got to my feet I could hear her approaching the gate.

“I know you, ” She screamed. “Get back here.”

I looked back to see her with her face squeezed between two vertical bars on the gate. It reminded me on that scene from The Shining.

She was shaking the gate like a mad woman. I turned and ran on. I almost thought I could hear her shout my name over and over as I ran, “Frankieee, Frankieee…” I dismissed that as just voices in my head.

I was wrong. She had indeed been screaming my name, until she damaged a vocal chord or something. She was quite hoarse the following day as she explained to the Principal what had happened.

I said nothing. It was game over. I was on the watchlist from then on.

And I would have gotten away with it too…if it hadn’t been for those meddling teachers.

Thank you for reading,


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It had lights!

It had lights!

“That’s exactly like the one I saw.” She said, as cool as a cucumber, then lowered her head back into her book.

To my wife, seeing that flying saucer is right up there with watching cattle grazing and watching paint dry.

I first learned about her close encounter when we were married about two years. That’s four years together, including the two fun years. Four whole years of thinking you know somebody!

The following information came by way of interrogation, which took more out of me than it did her. She would make a terrific spy!

It happened in the late eighties. I could ask her the exact year but she is sleeping at the mo. I dare not even think about waking her on such a trivial issue as alien beings landing on earth.

She was in her late teens. Her life was not yet complete (we hadn’t met). In the small village where she lived, she was walking from her parents’ house to her granny’s house. I don’t know if she was wearing a red riding hood but when she turned the corner at the end of the village, she saw it.

“A saucer shaped thing, like you’d see in a movie, it was all lit up.” She casually commented.

I slapped her again, and screwed the stretching machine up a notch. “What do you mean, lit up?”

“Oh you know, lights all the way around it. It was just sitting there in the field behind granny’s.”

I eventually got it out of her that it might have been the size of a bus, it might have been on the ground, but it might have been hoevering just above the ground, it might have had a window but it was definitely shining brightly.

“I was afraid to look at it. So I put my head down and ran into granny’s house. I told them all inside what I had seen, but when they went out to look it was gone. They didn’t believe me until two days later when the national newspapers were reporting lots of sightings from all over the country.”

So it took four years for her to tell me of that little, run o’ the mill, everyday, commoner garden variety UFO.

She never mentioned it again until one evening last year I was watching a documentry about Roswell or something. She looked up from her book (not a science fiction one) to confirm the identity of the saucer.

“…only mine had lights.” She added.

Off the top of my head, quick answer, that’s one evening I would like to return to if she would take me with her in the time machine. I would bring a camera too.

A selfie with saucer! That would beat all.

Thank you for reading,


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