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  • Writer's pictureMj Pettengill

After Dark

Public Domain

I wanted to hold tight to her hand, but I thought that it might break. I remembered when her cheeks colored up, and her eyes sparkled. She was soft and round, as a mother should be. Even when I was eight years old, I climbed up onto her lap to draw in her scent and take shelter in her fullness as she sang to my brother and me.

To my sorrow, it had been months since she rose up to sing. There were few songs to be had, although Daidí still played his fiddle, but never again like before. Nothin’ was the same. Together, we had shifted into a minor key. We sang and danced to remember who we were, clingin’ to a faint ray of hope when the cries of anguish were unimaginable. The howlin’ that came after dark continued to echo in my ears on many a long night.

We spent the previous winter huddled together with three other families in what was once a lovely rural cottage, much further away from the shore than what we were accustomed to. Daidí was a fisherman and did us fine until the trouble came.

We were not rich, but we were content, imperfect, and lovingly frayed around the edges. Like the other fishermen, Daidí fished along the shores in his currach, where it was safe, for the deep waters were much too perilous for small cowhide boats. The fish that he caught were bartered daily for our needs and were enough to pay the rent, and in spite of it and like the others, potatoes were our primary source of nutrition.

Had he not sold his tackle and nets to settle with the landlord and obtain food, we might have found a way to stay in our own cottage a bit longer, for he could have continued to fish. It had become a devastatin’ riddle, choosin’ between rent or food, because of the risin’ cost of both, Daidí could afford neither.

Annie Quinn (Hodgdon) June 10, 1847 Cork Harbour, Ireland

Excerpt: The Angels' Lament Etched in Granite Historical Fiction Series (Book Two) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Many of you who read Etched in Granite (Book One) may be asking, but, what about Annie Hodgdon? She is the mother of Abigail and Sarah. Like everyone else, there is always much more to the story. She is one who, as a child, left Ireland during the Great Hunger/ Famine/Exile. Her narrative brings us back to that massive event in history, and it has nothing to do with potatoes. This is just one more reason for the Angels' Lament. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ DOWN FROM THE TREE Etched in Granite Historical Fiction Series - Book Three Coming Soon!


Jun 01, 2019

Smartierana-8 Perhaps there still are parents out there singing to their children but technology has grabbed the spotlight? I will always choose live music over anything else. ;-) Let's always keep our fingers crossed that the good stuff is happening behind the scenes.


Jun 01, 2019

The present generation of children would be much better served if their mother ( and why not father too?) sang lullabies and ballads to their kin rather than plonk them in front of the tv to be bombarded with sanotised programmes . That may be a cop out from their roles . Late night stories not depicting horror may be more beneficial as well .

In short why not have four days a week without technology for entertainment?

When they are parents themselves will they remember a lullaby sung by their mother rather than some computer derived pop song? they might , if they had the choice.

I admire your preference for human interaction , even if negative at times,…

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