The locksmith retired some time ago, but he still comes around to check on the family business. Three sons keep it going for him. He’s well into his seventies but in good health. He’s out walking first thing in the morning, he swims, he keeps busy.
In years gone by the locksmith was, by his own account, quite handy on the dance floor. It was back in the days of the Ballrooms of Romance, when people packed out dancehalls like Seapoint in Salthill and parked their bicycles outside. Men would line up on one side of the dancefloor, women on the other. There was no alcohol available in the dancehall, just minerals and crisps. And by all accounts there was some serious hoofing going on, and our man the locksmith was one of the best of them.
I can see him now, gliding across the floor to take some girl’s hand. Making the ladies swoon and the men clench their jaw. Old Twinkletoes.
Word went around on the jungle telegraphy that there was going to be something of a ‘showband show’ in Seapoint sometime next week. Survivors of the showband days would all be appearing, people from the old bands. Too many names to list (though it would make for a great blog post in itself).
The old locksmith was keen to go. But tickets had sold out long ago. He wasn’t too pleased about this, especially when it was made known to him that the last 50 tickets had gone, en masse, to what he referred to as “a bunch of feckin’ Franciscans“. He told this to the brother a few days ago in the pub. (Where else?)
My esteemed sibling later reported that the matter had been resolved. Well, kind of. When next I met the locksmith myself, I heard it straight from the horse’s mouth. He had tickets for the night. Tickets had been got. The thing had been sold out weeks ago but tickets Had Been Got.
There’s something about the combination of The Passive Voice and A Galway Accent that makes you not quite believe What Is Being Said. So I had to press further.
“Oh, I got tickets all right.” Fair play to you, but how did you manage?
A long pause. “Someone died.”
You don’t know whether to laugh or cry. For my own part, I’m given pause for a second, because I briefly fancy there could be a bit of neat local serendipity at work.
A friend of a friend passed away just last week. An older gent, and a former musician himself – drums and trumpet (it was the time of the ballrooms, and it was a time when double jobbing might net you a few extra bob). The man was known locally. He would doubtless have been one of the first to get complimentary tickets for an event such as this.
A likely story, perhaps, but there’s no reason to believe it’s actually true. The gent who passed away died after what the death notices call “a long illness, bravely borne”. He hadn’t been active much in the past few months. The more you think about it, the less likely it is that the tickets were his.
It would be good to know, though. The locksmith is keen to find out.
“The least I can do,” he tells me, “is find out who it is and turn up at the funeral.”