John Montague, RIP.
Drove him back from Annaghmakerrig to Cork in a rusty Fiat 128 in the summer of 1983. He slept stretched all trustingly on the back seat while I kept nodding off, waking up once just in time to see a ditch straight in front of me. Ah them were the days.
I jumped a red light in Athlone, was stopped by the guards, breathalysed.
Guard: Now Ciaran, I’m afraid you’re over the limit.
John M: Excuse me! I’m an university professor. I need to get back to Cork. I have an early lecture tomorrow morning.
Me: John, please stay quiet...
Guard: Now Ciaran, I’ll tell you what we’ll do. You give me the keys of the car, and go up the town with your friend and have some fish and chips, and come back to the Station in an hour or so and collect your car.
John: But I’m a university lecturer and I have an early lecture tomorrow!
Me (sotto voce ) Shut up, John....
John M (later, up the town, as we ate fish and chips): But I thought it would help to get you off...
‘Like Dolmens Round My Childhood, the Old People’ – an all-time favourite poem of mine.