Welcome to the last chapter of The Colour of Life my father-in-law’s memoirs of the first 50 years of his life. Next week I will begin the serialisation of his next book which contains anecdotes that he collected to share at age 82.
Some years ago my wife and I were on holidays in Tenerife, and we stayed in a self-catering apartment, where we had breakfast, and it was our custom to dine out in the evenings. We enjoyed going to different restaurants each evening and sampling the local cuisine. I had a slight allergy to wine and so avoided it, but Sangria, well, that was a different matter. There was wine in it, sure enough, but it was tempered with dashes of Cointreau, Brandy, Vodka, Lemonade with lots of fresh fruit, crushed ice and whatever dribs and drabs the barman wanted to get rid of. I could drink it ’til the cows came home and I ordered it by the jug-full each evening. There was only one snag – it tended to give me nightmares!
One evening we were having a meal in a restaurant where the house recipe for Sangria was particularly nice. I was pouring myself a generous libation from the two litre jug when a complete stranger came up to our table,
“Do I hear an Irish voice?” he ventured.
“Yes, we’re Irish,” I replied
“My name is Monteith and I’m a dentist from Drogheda,” he said, and I tried to keep a straight face and thought what a name for a dentist.
“I don’t wish to intrude,” he said, “but my wife and I haven’t been here before, and we were wondering what is this drink you seem to be enjoying so much.”
“It’s Sangria,” I said, “Here, try it” and I poured him a glass from which he sipped first, and then drained the glass, smacking his lips appreciatively.
“It’s really beautiful,” he said. “Could I have another wee drop to give my wife a taste?” I obliged and he carried it over to where his wife sat. We saw her drain the glass, which he then returned to our table.
“Well,” he said, we never tried that before. We’re not great drinkers, but Sangria will be our number one from now on, and thank you very much for introducing us to it.”
“Just one thing,” I said, “too much of it can give you nightmares. In fact, I had a disturbing dream myself last night. I dreamt that my father, who is dead these years, came into my apartment for a chat and I told him to go back to wherever he came from as I was on my holidays.”
“How extraordinary,” said Monteith.
As we left, I smiled at the couple and said “Sweet Dreams.” They laughed and wished us good night.
The next evening, although we had decided to try a new restaurant, we found ourselves entering the same one again. The pull of that Sangria was strong. And who should be there, complete with a large jug of Sangria, but Monteith. We paused to exchange pleasantries, when he said
“By the way, I’ve a message for you. My father said to tell your father he was asking for him! It’s great stuff, I tell you!!
©Geoff Cronin 2005
About Geoff Cronin – 1923 – 2017
There were few jobs that Geoff could not turn his hands to, and over the years he mastered an impressive number of professional undertakings. Master baker and confectioner, mobile cinema operator, salesman, band leader, senior executive and master wood turner, storyteller and writer.
Geoff Cronin published his first book in 2005 at age 82. The Colour of Life is a collection of stories of life in Waterford during his childhood and early adulthood in the 1920s, 30s and 40s. This was followed by two further books that related tales of further adventures in Waterford and Dublin.
Thank you for dropping in today and you can read the previous chapters of The Colour of Life in this directory: