Some things never change!

We are quite privileged in Ireland to have our Dublin Airport in the midst of hectares of fields in Swords, County Dublin. There is plenty of room in the circumference of the airport for people to come and watch the planes taking off and landing. Isn’t it amazing that this common day practice can hold people’s attention for hours?
We know planes can fly, they’ve been doing it for nearly one hundred years now, but I think us common people are still fascinated by how they do it. It just seems so effortless for this tonne of weight to lift itself up into the air. Not too bothered about how things work myself, I don’t really have that kind of interest in them but they do still amaze me. And as I was driving past the ‘plane watchers’ this morning, it brought me back to the time when my Dad used to bring me and my sisters to the exact same place to watch the planes during our very young years of three, four and five.
 My Dad died in 2006 at age 64 of cancer. I wrote a lot about him in my book, ‘My Beautiful Flower’, but there was so much that I didn’t put in.
Dad would only have been a young man of about 29 years when I was a five year old. He was over six foot in height and was of lean build. He worked in Buckley’s abattoir in Camden street, so he was used to lifting cows onto his back then. He had a head of thick, curly black hair and lovely blue eyes. He had always loved Elvis and he like most young teenage boys of even today had gone down the route of trying to be a guitar player before he married my Mam, (which apparently, he sold his guitar to buy her engagement ring!) I look at my own handsome son of almost 26 years and although he’s fair haired, he reminds me a lot of my dad. He’s not as tall as my dad, Anthony stops at six foot, but he has a lot of his mannerisms!
We lived in Ballymun flats till I was about seven years of age, so we had plenty of visits to Dublin airport to watch the planes. Dad was proud of his three little girls, Olive with brown curly hair, me with black curly hair and josie with blonde curly hair, (My Mam had red hair!) Sharon was only a baby back home and Eleanor and Christine hadn’t come along yet. Dad would park the Buckley’s van on the side of the airport road and he’d lift us onto the bonnet. He’d take out the sandwiches Mam made for us and we’d sit there for hours eagerly waiting for the planes to land and then take off again.
And you know, forty years on, there are still Dad’s who are parked there in that very same place on the side of the road and they sit their children on their car bonnets. Things haven’t even changed that much with aeroplanes! They still do more or less the same thing, they still look pretty much the same! The side of the road hasn’t even changed, it hasn’t been cemented in, it hasn’t even been walled around. It still has the old hill right behind where the cars reverse in for the the best viewing spot. How many more Daddy’s brought their kids there on a Sunday morning while the Mammy at home prepared the Sunday dinner? There should be some kind of monument for Daddy’s right there in that spot.
I remember my Dad was so encouraging, telling us everything about the planes, how they took off, how they flew in the air. He had never even flown in an aeroplane before, but he always spoke of when he would and he would go to Australia too! He was such a young man, with great dreams for his life. Unfortunately, for Dad and the other young Irish Dad’s of that time, the 1970’s recession was about to hit and ten years on the dole queue killed my Dad’s spirit and dreams.
When he was dying, he was wondering what he had done in his life. He really thought he was a failure. He said all he did was mess up in life. Thankfully, all his girls told him he was great and he did his best and he taught us loads. Because he did. He and many other Father’s like him. He thought us to be tough. To work hard. To love your family. Was there anything more he could have done?
Jean xx

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