I was brought up in a family and community who prayed on a regular basis. Because it was part of our life, we took for granted that we had various saints waiting in the wings who we could negotiate with, or call upon when we needed something. Saint Christopher came with us on journeys, Joseph looked after our home, Anthony collected lost things and Jude was there to pick up the pieces when everything fell apart.
Having the comfort of this entourage – among many others – we were well equipped to face the world, knowing we were protected.
June was the month of the procession to honour The Sacred Heart and everyone turned out in their finery on one Sunday afternoon to walk the streets singing hymns and reciting prayers.
The only thing was, now we had discovered Botto’s we were keen to go every weekend, and getting up for Sunday morning Mass became a bit of a struggle, however, we still managed on a few hours sleep.
We had the usual warnings on Saturday evening not to stay out too late as we only had two hours break between morning Mass and the Procession which started at 2pm the next day. We knew we’d handle it. You can do anything when you’re eighteen!
First stop was ‘The Duke’ at the top of the market, then a quick one in ‘The Fountain’ followed by ‘The Braes’, ‘Black Horse’, ‘Turf’, ‘Coach and Horses’ and the penultimate drink in ‘The Freemasons’ before hitting the nightclub, which was the highlight of the night.
All the girls were sleeping at my house, as I lived the closest, depositing their bags in the hallway before we went out.
Botto’s was great, as usual, and we danced to ‘Devil Gate Drive’ , ‘Tiger Feet’, ‘Killer Queen’ and did all the actions to ‘Kung Fu Fighting’!
All too soon 2am came round and the lights were on to remind us to make a quick exit. Nobody wanted to go home and stalled as long as possible even when the bouncers were shouting
“Can you get your drinks off please!”
I’d been talking to the DJ for some of the evening and he offered me a lift home. Even though I only lived two minutes away I accepted and told the girls the door was open. They went downstairs to get the coats.
Later, I found out they’d been confronted as they crept up the stairs to bed and reported that I’d gone off with a man in a car.
So, when I arrived home, I wasn’t expecting my 4 foot 11inch Auntie Rose to open the car door, give my chauffeur a good telling off and order me into the house.
Sliding into bed beside my fast asleep friends I held my breath and waited. Then she was there; pushing the bedroom door gently,
“So you’re home then, safe and sound?”
Nodding, I whispered a hasty,
With a twinkle she kissed my forehead, tucked me in and said,
“And I’ve spent all night praying to Saint Anthony so we’d find the body!”
I turned over in bed and fell asleep smiling.