Just call me ‘Nancy’.

Do you remember my old pal Denis, who emigrated from Ireland to England earlier this year aged 83? Well I have found it hard to forget him, (his story is here). Not a day goes by when I don’t think of him in some way. I pass his house and ache to call in. I pass the hotel and remember his day out each Sunday for lunch. I pass the supermarket and remember out trips there for litres of coke to dilute a certain drink he was partial to each night which may or may not be illegal.

Mostly I remember him with no prompt at all, missing him still every day.

Last night I went to see The Fureys, a band who have been singing since Jesus was a boy, as they’d say here in Cork. Most of my generation, and younger,would not be too enamored by them, but I love their singing. They are very Irish, and the lyrics of every song they sing, are beautiful. I have already shared one of their songs here as a tribute to my Dad, called ‘I miss you my oul man’.

So last night myself and himself headed off to join a motley crew of fans at The Fureys.  From the start I was blown away, as I’d imagined they would not be quite as good in the vocal department after all their years on the road. I had prepared myself to be strong, in case they sang ‘I miss him my oul man’, and sure enough they did. I was delighted to listen to it live, without a tear in my eye, singing along at full volume. Great I thought they didn’t get to me.

I was wrong.

Towards the end of the night they sang one of my favourite songs, called ‘Leaving Nancy’. As it began I turned to my husband excitedly and whispered, ‘Oh I love this song’. I sat back to enjoy it and then without notice, it happened. I was swept away, back to that sad day when Denis and I said a final goodbye. I listened as the words perfectly described out meeting that last time, as we stood in the kitchen not saying all we ached to say.

But you stand there so calmly determinedly gay
You talk of the weather and events of the day
And your eyes tell me all that your tongue doesn’t say
Goodbye my Nancy, oh

And I remember how we joked and chatted that morning, both of us holding back the tears, as they sang,

But you stand there beside me so lovely to see
The grip of your hand is an unspoken plea
You’re not fooling yourself and you’re not fooling me
Goodbye my Nancy, oh.

I thought of how short a time we had known each other, but how much he had come to mean to me, as I heard them sing,

But our time has run out and the whistle has blown
Here I must leave you standing alone
We had so little time and now the time’s gone
Goodbye my Nancy, oh

And with tears streaming down my face I tried to sing along as they sang,

And as the train starts gently to roll
And as I lean out to wave and to call
I see the first tears trickle and fall
Goodbye my Nancy, oh


And I ached so badly for one more hug from a man who had come to mean so much to me, as The Fureys sang the chorus one last time,

And come a little closer
Put your head upon my shoulder
And let me hold you one last time
Before the whistle blows
And let me hold you one last time
Before the whistle blows.

Yes I am still missing Denis after all these months.

Here is the song, I hope you enjoy it.


23 thoughts on “Just call me ‘Nancy’.

  1. I related to this because last year I lost a neighbor with whom my husband and I had been friendly for fifteen years. I still look across the street, longing to see him puttering around outside. A poignant post, a good reminder of the value of friends and their importance to us.

    1. I am so sorry for your loss. Even though Denis is alive and very well, the chances of us meeting again are very slim, so I totally understand your loss. Thanks for reading and commenting I agree friendship is so valuable regardless of the age of our friends.

    1. Thank you. You are right it is as if he is with me forever, which some days is a lovely thought, and other days is a lonely one.

  2. How anyone could not love this is beyond me…. it’s mesmerizing Tric. I can feel myself standing in the kitchen with you and Denis. What a softly powerful song . Perfectly Irish.

    1. Thanks Colleen. I too love it and was so surprised when it brought his leaving back to me. What a night you’d have had if you were there.

  3. it is so beautiful. and sad. and i can imagine that you would weep away when thinking of your special friendship and hearing this song. hugs )

    1. Thanks Beth. Yes I shed a tear, but also have been remembering so many happy moments too. I was lucky to have had as long as I did with him

  4. just reading your post has brought me to tears… so lovely and so sad. I wonder if you could ever visit him or talk on the phone? It’s not so very far away? And, I know it’s not the same as seeing him every week.

    1. He lives quite a distance from an airport, but we have indeed spoken on the phone, and while not the same it is lovely to chat.
      Sorry to make you cry, but today I have had some lovely memories pop up in my mind since writing this post, so it’s not all bad.

  5. I was wondering how your friend was faring in England. Thank you for writing so beautifully and eloquently about your special friendship. I loved the songs you shared as well. The Furey’s have a Canadian fan in me. ❤️

    1. I’m delighted you enjoyed the Fureys. Yes my pal is getting on okay in England. Naturally it takes a while to settle but he is doing well, and with his family which is good and we speak on the phone now and again.

      1. I’m glad that you’re still in touch. I’m happy that Denis is reunited with his family, and has you and your family as his extended kin. The Furey’s Rock I just added them to my playlist. Thank you so much for introducing me to a great band and wonderful lyrics. 😊❤️🎶

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