The 26 eclectic short stories for my #AtoZChallenge are excerpts from travelogue notes by
fictional character Gahlen, who first appears in SHARDS OF MEMORY – Oral History in a Heartbeat.
Each A-to-Z daily post is a stand-alone tale - partly true, partly fiction.
By Dylan - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,
Elderly Fare at Cork Market
Once we settled into Devlon’s taxicab, he drove along the bank of the River Lee, pointing out the Butter Museum. “They give an interesting history of Ireland’s success in the butter trade and how they stored butter in bogs.”
Turning the corner, he said, “Taking the St. Patrick’s Street Bridge to the English Market for a scheduled fare. See St. Finn Barre’s Cathedral looming?”
At the market, Devlon pulled up to an elderly woman. She dragged a wire cart overflowing with fresh vegetables. Devlon whispered, “She won’t allow me to assist with the cart or open the door for her.”
While she unlatched the back door and struggled with her possessions, Devlon kept talking.
“Cork’s English Market has been a landmark since they laid the foundation stone in September of 1786. They offer the best local food.”
“Everything from olives to eels,” the elderly woman said, hauling the cart into the back seat and forcing my sisters to scrunch together.
“Headed home, Mamó?” Devlon asked.
Ah, I thought, his grandmother. All of Ireland must be related.
“Where else would I be headed with a cartful of groceries, Devlon? Of course, home.”
“We just drove past the Butter Museum,” he said, unfazed. “These folks are visiting from America, checking out their ancestral roots.”
“Is that so?” she said. “What name would you be upholding?”
Devlon translated: “Which of your ancestors left Ireland for America?”
“The Keogh family. They sailed from Cork to Quebec. That’s in Canada. Later, they migrated to Wisconsin.”
“I know where Quebec is,” she snapped. “Wisconsin most likely is a state in your country.”
“Gramma,” Devlon said, pointing to me, “this is Gahlen. Seated next to you are Rianne and Vondra. May they call you Gramma?”
“Devlon,” she said, “what is my name?”
Devlon squirmed. “Sorry, Gramma, I never knew your name.”
“Exactly. And if you don’t know my name, why should these strangers?” She sighed, then said, “Yes, call me Gramma. Do you know what I once found buried in the bog behind our farm? A finger bone. Oh, the stories I could tell about ritual sacrifices.”
“Gramma,” Devlon said, his voice a bit shaky now. “Are you sure you want to tell such stories to a bunch of strangers?”
“Strangers?” she asked. “They are practically family, calling me Gramma. How much closer can we get?”