Posts Tagged With: Irish


I’ve always loved Andy Rooney’s wry comments on the irritating things of everyday life.  Made me think we had something in common. I admired his unflinching honesty and that he stood behind his convictions whether others thought he was right or wrong.  A number of times he apologized if he felt he had  made a mistake. Not often. I gave up watching 60 Minutes some years back when they changed their time slot. And, I gave up watching television almost completely since I’ve been on the road with Jim. Don’t miss it, but I  had to watch 60 Minutes’ tribute to their uncompromising Irishman.  It was an interview of a previously aired program. I was glad I watched it.  I was surprised at how much about Rooney I didn’t know; his years with Godfrey, Reasoner, Cronkite. His original bits with 60 Minutes as a shadow character. His early career and awards.

The Seattle Post Intelligencer aired a video of Rooney’s final goodbye on 60 Minutes.  I had never seen it. I was glad I watched it, too. His final statement that goes something like this:  If you see me out to dinner, just let me eat my dinner.  Typical crusty Rooney. I heard him say that several times over the years. He didn’t like people to bother him during his private time. He never let fame go to his head.  He had substance, a great sense of humor, often serious, funny, sometimes angry, or silly; telling it like it was. Here is a link to  his last program if you missed it to:

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Being part Irish, I learned more about them from books and history than my own parentage. My father would sometimes say, “Greetuns’, greetuns and salutations,” when  he was in a good mood. And he’d say, “mournin’ boys” to my girl friends, which kind of embarrassed me as a teen. We got the great big “eye”, a television set, when I was about 16 and he didn’t let me watch old British films because they aggrandized the British. (I really understood that after I read Trinity.)
He believed in political debate at the dinner table and never let us forget that the working man had to fight for every right he ever had and if it weren’t for the unions, we’d all be working in sweatshops.
“I’ve worked all my life, and I never had a day of sick leave, and I’ve been plenty sick,”  he would say.
Even so, he was grateful for seniority, the right to organize and ask for pay increases, the right to complain if an individual thought he was fired unfairly. They won pension benefits, and health care, which in my father’s time was simply a nurse on the job to report and treat injuries and provide a record that injuries happened on the job so the union could investigate if any safety rules were ignored.  They won the right to have written evaluations and records of their work so the boss couldn’t lie about a man’s worthiness. Companies didn’t just roll over an capitulate. They fought it tooth and nail, and had other ways of forcing an older man off the job so they wouldn’t have to pay a pension.
In my father’s case, he worked for Pacific States Steel Company. They didn’t like guys who wouldn’t tow the line or complained to their union about infractions of the union rules and safety violations. He suffered through many attacks;  acid in his locker which ate holes in his clothes. Tacks under his tires, which gave him flat tires. His lunch sandwiches filled with sand; midnight phone calls and threats to my mother. (This happened in the 1960’s.) They finally quit the harassment when the bosses had a meeting with the union and my dad appeared with my husband and my brother-in-law, both dressed in suits and ties carrying brief cases looking like lawyers, and holding a tape recorder. My dad got his pension of  $98 a month. When he died, my mother got $76 of that which was considered very generous. 

My husband’s job as a cop was subject to the whim of the Board of Supervisors. In the forties, cops would be fired if they tried to organize into a union and were told so. In fact, at one time you had to be a Republican and join the Masons to become a cop. Later, you had to be a Republican and a Mason to get a promotion. During one bitter strike by a local cannery in Alameda County, CA. cops were instructed to beat back the protesters with their batons even though the cannery workers had the right to protest. Even forming a deputy sheriff”s association was done with trepidation. Deputies served at the whim of the Board of Supervisors. They could not negotiate for better pay. They did not receive overtime pay. Eventually they received compensatory time, but certain bosses wouldn’t sign their comp time cards and refused to give it to them. Other supervisors would come on the job and say, “You-take your vacation this week.” Just like that. You took your time, with no opportunity to plan, and you were grateful that you got vacation at all.

The Irish were very much at the forefront of unions and union organizing in many communities.  They suffered so much from the British, they made sure it wouldn’t happen in their adopted countries, US and Australia. So, Happy St. Patricks day, and here be a Salute To The Irish, by gorrah!

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Everything they say about girlfriends, is true. We really bond, talk and understand each other. (Jim calls himself a thorn among the roses. He took the picture.)
All I know is I would be bereft without my girlfriends. This impromptu gathering was so much fun, the toasts we made, the laughter and “girl talk.”
Tomorrow I have girls night out with the three M’s, that’s myself, Michal and Madalaine. Because I’m now on the road so much with Jim, I find these get togethers all the more precious. When I’m gone, I miss some family gatherings, neighbors, deaths, weddings, local events, my local newspaper…gosh, whole buildings go up in the neighborhood when I’m gone.
Its about choices. I’m glad I’ve become a rambler; I’m glad I have Jim in my life. I’m happy to have these years of good health and happy to have new adventures to look forward to.

A good girlfriend, (now deceased) used to always toast with these words:
“Here’s to us good friends and true. Stab her in the back before she stabs you.” Which always brought rollicking laughter.
Another, that I tend to over use is: “Here’s to you and here’s to me. May we always agree. And if we should disagree, to hell with you and here’s to me.”
Of course toasts can be serious, but for some reason or another me Irish comes up when I have a drink in hand.

“Heres to my friend, the bride. May you always have diamonds on your fingers and knock-you-dead-destroy-the-paycheck dresses to wear. And to the groom, may you have an indestructible paycheck.”

Truth to tell, my usual toast is may you know as much happiness as I have known. And that’s for real.

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