Take a small town in southern Alabama, and a young lady, just slightly out of step. Add gnarly family trees, entrenched traditions, and everyone living with skeletons in their closets - welcome to Gallagher. There one will find an extraordinary cast of insane characters. And, it could only happen in the South.


Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Scéal fear Éireannach ag teacht abhaile

As Ella sat there in the hall taking in all the work that was being done.  Just then Pearce walked up with a bottle of cold water, the cell phone in her hand bag rang. She quickly reached into the bag and without pulling it out, turned it off. He handed the water to Ella. She thanked him, and took a swallow. "I just want you to know how nice Doyle was to me."

"He's a good guy." He paused, "feeling better?"

"Much," Ella said. "I'm not sure what came over me." She took anther swig of water. "It's just embarrassing for this to be your  first impression of me."

Pearce laughed,"Not at all. I'm just glad you are better."

"Rayanne should have been here by now."

Ella looking around the room,"I am so glad you are restoring this house. I have pleasant memories coming here as a child. The Fitzgeralds were a nice family. You know their daughter, Imogene, lives in town. As does her brother, Parnell."

"Yes, I did know that."

"What made you decide to buy this place? It is so big and in such run down condition?"

"Oh, I don't see it as buying it, as much as saving it - for generations to come."

"Generations?"

"Yes, generations of Fitzgeralds. No family should have lost such a wonderful home, simply due to the folly of an old man."

"You mean Faolan Fitzgerald and that business with the Prince?"

Pearce laughed and looked at the front door. "Well, you see 'Faolan Fitzgerald' was my uncle."

Surprised, Ella asked, "So you are a Fitzgerald?"

"My mother was Gwendolen Fitzgerald. She loved this place so much. I grew up hearing wonderful stories of Cre Uisce Aer. Mum made it sound like a dream world. It had always been my dream to visit it. When I learned it was for sale, I bought it."

"Were you raised in Ireland?"

"Yes mam. My mother married Philip Phinnigan and moved to Ireland. That was where I spent my youth." He paused and looked at Ella. "That was where we were when my uncle lost the place."

"This is quite special, having a Fitzgerald back in Gallagher." Ella looked around and laughed. "People are going to be very surprised. I bet no one guessed a Fitzgerald would ever be back, much less, being the one restoring this place."

"Why? Did someone else have plans for it?"

Ella smiled, "You have kept us entertained for a couple months now. Everyone assumed it was some foreigner - a Saudi Prince, a Mafia Boss, or maybe even a Drug Lord from South America."

Pearce shook head,"Seriously? Well I hate to disappoint them." He smiled, "But then I am a foreigner."

"No, Pearce Phinnigan, you are a Fitzgerald."

They were quite for moment. Ella continued,"Why keep it so private?"

"Private?"

"Yes, it was quite the mystery when everyone noticed work being done here but we had no idea who was behind it. Rayanne, my best friend since high school, but we don't like to talk about how many years "Ella said, realizing  she was just chattering.  "Any way, we took it upon ourselves to do some research in the basement of the court house. Finally, we found that a McMillan, Shaw, Ebert, Wilson and Jones LLC had purchased the property." Ella stopped and smiled,"We feared, with a name that long, it was a company that would tear this place down and build a strip mall or worse."'

Pearce just shook his head - these ladies may as well have been out of central casting,"I guess no one gets away with much around here without someone finding out." He added,"MSEW&J is an LLC I own."

"Well, we were just curious. Rayanne is going to be thrilled to see what you have done here."

As if on cue, Rayanne walked into the house. "Oh dear Ella, are you OK?"

"I am now, thanks to Pearce here. Rayanne, I'd like you to meet Pearce Phinnigan. Pearce this is my best friend Rayanne."

Rayanne just stood there,"Pearce Fitzgerald Phinnigan, isn't it?"

"That would be me," answered Pearce.

"I remember when your mother got married and moved to Ireland."

"And they stayed there. Mum never returned even after Dad died." Pearce added, "I tried to get her to come back, even if just for a visit, before she died. But she would have none of it."

"Well she was a beautiful woman. No one could fault a good looking Irishman like your father for taking her away."  After a moment, she continued, "So you, Imogene, and Parnell are cousins."

"Yes, my mother was their aunt."

"I know they are excited to have you back, Especially, now that you are restoring the house," said Rayanne with a smile.

"Well," Pearce hesitated, "I don't think they know I am back."

"Why not? You're family, and they haven't seen you in a while," commented Ella.

Pearce smiled, "I'm not so sure." He paused as both women waited for him to finish. "You see seanathai's estate was split between Mum and Uncle Faolen. Mum took her inheritance to Ireland. I guess you know what happened to Uncle Faolen."

"You mean you 'grandfather's' estate?"  Rayanne asked.

Pearce nodded, "Yes, my grandfather's estate."

Rayanne continued, "Your mother had nothing to do with that!"

"No, but when he asked Mum for money, she refused to send any. Her comment was, 'it would have been good money after bad'."

Rayanne chimed in, "I'm sure they will not hold that against you."

"I would hope not, but it was diabhal 'cint." Pearce smiled then offered, "a bloody thing."

Rayanne just looked at Pearce, "I could just listen to you talk forever."

"Rayanne, I think we need to leave and stop wasting this man's time. We have chatted enough." Ella looked at Pearce, "I cannot thank you enough for 'saving' me."

Before Rayanne could speak, Ella continued, "And, I promise neither of us will tell anyone about you."

"I'd appreciate that. I'm just glad you are OK. Are you sure you don't need help with your car?"

Ella smiled,"No, but I appreciate the offer. Charlie will fix it."

Pearce walked them to the door. "By the way, how is my  muintir?" He laughed, "My family . . . Imogene and whatever family I still have here?'"

Ella told Pearce that Imogene was married to the town cop. She also told him about the Irish linens.

"Sásta a chloisteáil!" Pearce said with a broad smile. Then he interpreted, "I'm so glad to hear that."

Both ladies laughed at Pearce's words.

"Oh, there is one more person, Hugh McKissick? Do you know him?"

Rayanne looked at Ella,"I'm not familiar with that name."

"The last address I had for him was in Gallagher." He paused,"Any way, it was my pléisiúr to meet you."

They said their good bye. As they were walking out the door, they met Doyle coming in. Ella immediately said, "Oh, I am so glad to see you. I wanted to thank you again for 'saving' me." She turned to Rayanne, "This is my friend Rayanne, who has come to take me home."

"Well it was my pleasure. I'm glad we were so close to your car when it stopped."

"Oh, so am I, so am I."

With that the 2 women left and Doyle walked into the house.  He laughed, "Now that's a pair."

"Oh, they are nice ladies. I think I entertained them with my brogue."

"No doubt."

"I appreciate your helping Ella."

Doyle laughed,"Well, I had been watching the 2 of them this morning for a while."

"Watching them?"

"They were hiding behind that bill board across the street, looking over here with binoculars."

"Are you kidding me?"

"Nope. So I am sorry that her car just 'happened' to 'break down' just a wee bit down the road."

"And, let me guess, she didn't have a cell phone."

"That was the story."

"So the one that rang in her purse must not work." Pearce just laughed loudly.

"Yep, that one."

Pearce stood there looking at Doyle, just taking all this in. "Well, I think they are harmless. Curious, but harmless."

No comments: