Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Piseogs - They Ain't Wrong

One of the beautiful prints from McSorley's Old Ale House,NYC reminds me that Kevin Bacon stands not six feet away from me.

I'm an American, for the most part.  I believe in death and taxes; death comes but once, I hear.  American secular doctrine to the contrary, the metaphysical remains a fact of life - The Kevin Baconian* Removetur Per Sex Rules and the ubiquitous Mors Venit in Terni -e.g in Treys: the late Etta James, Don Cornelius and then Whitney Houston; and the late Mike Wallace, Gil Noble and Dick Clark. 

Death may come in threes and you my be separated from Kevin Bacon by a factor of six, but there is a whole bunch of other dubious $hit goin' on, to quote the great Miles Turner. Strange things happen. Perhaps we will them out of circumstances, or we get a chill because asomatous beings are afoot.  Voiceless presences might visit and suck up the oxygen. Mostly, it is other people who manage to do that.

My Irish forebears recognized signs of the supernatural in our lives up to and including the last generation.  There  are tales of the visit of the bean sí  -"the woman of the sidhe, or mound" whose appearance portends a death - tajking the shape of animals at times. 

Women were said to hold the key to curses and would whip up a malediction directed at a person or persons for any reason - 

 Here's a great one:

May the curse of Delia Grogan and her nine blind illegitimate children chase you so far over the hills of damnation that the Lord himself can't find you with a telescope.

My aunt Cathleen died while an infant following the appearance of a kitten who howled like a dog simultaneous to a rising temperature in the child's body and at the moment of death, signalled by an increase on the ghostly howl,  my grandmother, Nora, picked up the child and the crib collapsed.  

Another time a very dependable clock chimed for no good reason and a knock came to the Hickey door at 7535 S. Marshfield in the summer of 1944.  A Western Union telegram informed my grandparents that their son Patrick E. Hickey, USMCR was listed as missing in action.  Three weeks later, the clock stopped altogether and another telegram from the Navy Dept. informed them that their son Patrick E. Hickey was alive. Saints Be Praised.

Had some foul woman cursed our family? Had our clan run afoul of the sidhe? Knowing my bog-man Grandfather that should not be counted out.

Thus, follow the piseogs, or maledictions placed on people.  Strange things happen.  Sometimes we may find that there are explanations for what happens - a lawyer friend of mine lost his credit cards. They vanished out of his wallet.  Weeks later, after calling and cancelling them and waiting the arrival of replacements, did he learn that his toddler son had lifted them and tucked them under his toys.

However, there is much that happens that can not be explained - Governor Pat Quinn for example.

Girls, Repeat after me, 
"May the curse of Delia Grogan and her nine blind illegitimate children chase him ( the Guv) so far over the hills of damnation that the Lord himself can't find him with a telescope."

* In point of fact, while in New York City (Manhattan) in 1991 for an Independent Schools Conference, I had the occasion to stop in McSorley's Ale House in the mid-afternoon and the joint was relatively empty.  I enjoyed the McSorley's Cream Ale and cheese and crackers while standing at the bar.  A guy about my age noticed the Convention placard around my neck and said, " You one of the school teachers? Pat Hickey! La Lumiere School where's that?"  I told him La Porte, Indiana and recognized him, which is only fair.   Kevin Bacon, the actor and talisman of human contact, was now about to get the south side treatment - " You were in a movie with my Mom and John and Bernice McPolin a couple of years ago. It was filmed up North .  . . Chicago, I mean north of Chicago, in one of them toney suburbs in a movie about a wedding, . . .McPolin and my my old man worked for the State of Illinois for forty years and when McPolin retired he and Bern acted as extras in movies shot in Chicago and they took my Mom along as well and she ended up in wedding scene. My old man was far too busy with matters of state and culture at TR's to take time out for the silver screen in his retirement years."

Kevin Bacon was fascinated to l learn that he had starred with McPolins and my Mom.  I have that effect on people. Riveting.  He and I shot the breeze and shared my cheeses and went "I got this one" on a couple of beers. Nice guy.


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