This morning I tended the grave of Sonny McCullagh. It is the forty-fifth anniversary of his death. Tonight we will celebrate mass for the repose of his soul.
My dear father was the most humble of men. He was a labourer, by necessity, his mother not having the connections or wherewithal to help him acquire a trade or to keep him at school for self-advancement. [His father contracted tuberculosis when he was just 5 years old and died three years later].
He never in his life earned more than £10 a week, and that only in the last week of his life. But he was universally loved, respected and admired.
Even more than forty years after his death, a childhood friend of his, Aidan D'Arcy of Monaghan Street, who by then was of Bessbrook and my friend too, often reminisced and chastened me with the thought that I could never hope to be half the man he was. He was right, of course, and we both knew it. But I have tried, and will continue to guide my actions on his inspiration. The expression, lately, is cheapened with over-usage, but holds true in this case. He was quite simply the best. ----------- Now, in July 2019, as I review this post, I know that I miss him almost as much as I did then, in June 1962, when I was just fourteen years of age.