Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 26 November 2014

My weekend of passion

MOST people remember their first love and I am no exception. But what I'll never forget about this passionate liaison was the weekend I brought the poor girl home to meet my parents.

MOST people remember their first love and I am no exception. But what I'll never forget about this passionate liaison was the weekend I brought the poor girl home to meet my parents.

Obviously, I cannot use her real name so we'll call her Rose - which seems somewhat appropriate as she certainly grew on me. She was a student from the country living in the big smoke of Belfast, as was yours truly.

A rickety old Ulsterbus deposited us in the centre of the village and I hogged our bags the rest of the way to my parents' home. You'd have thought your woman was going to stay for a month, she had so many clothes with her.

When we reached the house, my sisters were firmly ensconced at the living-room window for their first all-important gawk at the bould Rose. They seemed suitably impressed, and I inwardly sighed with relief.

The next test was to get my mother's approval of this young woman who was having designs on her youngest son. As advised on the bus, Rose pulled her hemline down as far as possible, smiled sweetly and made small talk about the weather. The ice was soon broken and she was invited to make herself at home.

Hardly had she perched herself on the settee when I noticed, to my horror, that my sisters - as was their wont - had hung their underwear on the rail in front of the range to dry. All shapes and colours of knickers and bras on full display: what would this sophisticated, glamorous young woman think? But it was too late, the damage had been done.

The standard of hospitality, I have to say, was second to none. Rose was offered "a wee cup of tea" every 10 minutes and my mother's dinners were as tasty and wholesome as ever.

The next stage of the weekend was to show my new girlfriend off to the good citizens of Moneymore. I was looking forward to this.

On the steps of the pub opposite the town clock every head turned in unison as we made our way down the main street. As we passed by, the talking dropped to a murmur, greetings were exchanged, and out of the blue there was another subject of conversation to keep the boys on the corner going for a while.

It had already been planned that we would go out to the local pub on the Saturday night for a bit of craic. Like most other lounge bars in the country, this place had a wee group playing every weekend, with country and western songs being belted out through the chatter and the smoke.

Unfortunately for Rose, one of the local 'characters' took a shine to her and insisted on her coming out for a "birl". Her face was a sight to behold as he bounced her round the floor for the next half an hour in a medley of waltzes, jives and foxtrots.

That set the standard for the rest of the evening, which flew in all too soon as the drink flowed and the tears ran down our cheeks with laughter.

The next morning Rose accompanied me, hand-in-hand , to church where she again came under rigorous inspection from the locals. I never actually found out what their general verdict was but, from the leering looks of many of the young men, it seemed to have been favourable.

And though I say it myself, she was indeed a fine-looking girl, with long blond hair and a great figure. I never married her but I enjoyed the trip while it lasted. If by any remote chance she reads this, I hope she'll have happy memories of the weekend she got her feet under the table in the McGuckin homestead!

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