Page 85 - Kieran Ballah Remembers M.J
ISSUE : Issue 48
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1988/6/1
I don't know how Mum got to Louisbourg. Mum was born in Reserve Mines. She was Irish-- O'Keefe. Her mother was right from County Cork in Ireland. That's where they got my name from--Martin Kieran--it's the Irish. She'd tell us when we were kids, you know, "I met your father. I used to walk behind him going to church in Louisbourg. He was a real Dapper Dan. Used to make fun of how he used to dress, with the kid gloves and the spats. He didn't know I was going to marry him!" And he used to bring--Mum played the piano--and he used to bring music over to Mum. since he couldn't play, for her to play for him. So he could practice his singing, she would play the music. And Mum's mother used to say, "That fellow's not coming over just for music. He's got other things on his mind!" I guess he did. He was quite a bit younger than Mum. He was 7 or 8 or 9 years younger than Mum. And married Mum. And they didn't even want the marriage--the old people. They said, "She'll never give him any children. She's too old for him." She had 10! or a BB gun. Somebody playing cards in the kitchen. The house was never empty. Many people will say, "Oh, I remember the Ballah house--the fun we had in the Ballah house." We grew up to be a happy place. And Dad al? ways encouraged you to bring your friends home. There was very little liquor in those days--we're talking in the '40s, early '50s and late '40s. It was, "If you want to have a drink, you want to buy a bottle, bring it home and drink it. Bring your friends home." We didn't drink much, consequently. The same thing happened to me, almost, in Antigonish, when I was living next door to Eileen--my wife--before I was married. And I wanted to sing, and I had no accompanist, and I couldn't play either. So, I had my eyes on her. And I said, "I'll go over and get her to learn to play this number for me so I can sing it somewhere." I never knew till after that I did the same thing my father did. The later years of my Dad--he was so, so sick for many years, and suffered so much, that a lot of people, like, remember the bad times of him. But he was a very kind man, and all he was concerned about was putting food on the table. We were never short of food. We had no money--he owed every? body- -but we were never short of food. Always had food on the table. Always And meals were sacred, with Mosey Bal? lah. I grew up that way. In our family we traditionally eat dining room table every Sunday, and as many of my family as--my married children--can get to? gether, we're there--here--on Sunday. It's always a gang here for dinner. We grew up with the meal being a very im portant part of our life. We'd have 7--I can remember, living-- 7--Mum and Dad would be 9: it was nev? er just us at the table. It was always more people there, eating, visiting. Thinking back, Friday night and Satur day and Sunday, at our home--we lived on Townsend Street, right near the Sydney Academy. It was a busy, busy house. The music was strong: there was singing, piano. And somebody down in the cellar with a model airplane, mor taring, an awful racket. Or taking target practice with a .22 down there BOOKS ARE A GREAT GIFT ANY TIME OF THE YEAR Cape Breton Books A Good Selectbn of First-Rate Literature ' • A Wide Range of Books from Popular to Scholarly 361 Charlotte St., Sydney BIP 1 El (next to the Peking Restaurant) (539-8551) CAPEBRETXDN, TUNE IN TO THE NUMBER ONE NETWORK. The Canadian Airlines network is the one to watch in Cape Breton. Air Atlantic and Canadian Airlines offer more flights in Atlantic Canada, across the country and to five conti? nents than any otiier airline network. And we're expanding too! With twice a day service to Boston. The number one network also has the number one inflight service and frequent flyer program. You'll receive a minimum of 800 Canadian Plus points when you fly within Atlantic For the best reception in Cape Breton, tune in to the number one network. For reservations call your travel agent or Canadian Airiines at 1-800-565-1800. AirAlkmttlCdaaaidiyvi The Number One Network in Atlantic Catmda.
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