Here is my article from Fridays Examiner’s Feelgood. For those who are reading from overseas the gardai are what we call our police. Yes, spoiler alert, my criminal past is revealed!
Unless you live under a stone you will be familiar with the talk of the gardai and questions about their maths? Well, I too have a question,
Where were these less than diligent guards when I needed them?
I’m not a criminal but how many among us have got to a reasonable age in life without being caught doing something we were not supposed to?
I was fifteen years old when I had my first remembered meeting between myself and an on duty Garda, back in the good old days when teenagers owned bikes. I’d spent the afternoon miles away, with no mobile phone and a mother at home who hadn’t missed me. Nor would she unless I arrived in seconds late for dinner.
Unfortunately, being fifteen I didn’t care too much about time and as I owned a bike not noted for speed I knew I would be late. I put my ‘head with no helmet’ down and cycled as fast as I could towards home. Approaching the nearest village I had a choice, take the long way around or travel a short distance, the wrong way up a one way street.
With the thought of being late for dinner foremost in my mind I mounted the footpath and cycled against the tide. Nearing the halfway mark I almost succumbed to a heart attack as I saw a Garda car turn the corner and drive towards me. Hoping it was on its way to a major crime I cycled on. Unfortunately, I was the crime.
Blocking my path stood a giant of a guard who took no breath as he spouted the road traffic regulation I was breaking. Seemingly I was quite the criminal as there were more than one. I did my best to pay attention but Mr Garda had, what we Dubs would call, a ‘country’ accent, so I hadn’t a clue what he was saying. Finally he stopped and I mumbled a less than apologetic, ‘Sorry Garda,’ while looking at his enormous feet. Alarmed by the rapid spread of a red rash over his neck and face I deduced my answer had not pleased him. He shouted and roared some more before pointing down the road. I took my cue, rather relieved and cycled away, breaking no laws.
All would have been wonderful if that were the end of the story, but as a fifteen-year-old I wasn’t the most compliant. The moment my new friend drove out of sight, I turned my bike and once again cycled against the traffic. Moments from freedom you can guess what turned the corner?
Without thinking things through I about turned, coat tails flying and cycled away in the right direction. With lights flashing the squad car drew level and pulled me over. My good friend, emerged, his red rash worse now a serious worry, as he parted me from my bike, dumping it with little care into the boot of the car.
I pleaded, apologised and promised to be the most law-abiding teenager ever. Perhaps my accent was a problem because without a word he drove away? Dinner would be off the menu by the time I walked home! I spent the next while thinking up all manner of plausible excuses as to why I was late and where my bike had gone.
As I cursed my luck, a car pulled alongside me. My friend was back. He pulled my bike from the boot as I promised faithfully to be the perfect citizen. With a smile and a wink he was gone.
I can’t recall the reception I received at home that day, but I do know my friend the guard taught me a valuable lesson…
‘Where possible stay on the right side of the road in life.’
I can’t tell you if I’ve always remembered it, but I’ve never forgotten my friend the guard.
Photo credit : London Irish Graduate Network
photo credit: Cian Ginty Garda Traffic Corps (CROP) via photopin (license)
photo credit: Jonathan Ryan – Tipperaryphotos.com Clonmel Garda Car Toyota Avensis via photopin (license)