FEELING a fool is an occupational hazard of unbriefed humanity_ Not so long ago in Dublin, I chatted to a charming English woman along the statutory lines of wind and weather and how she was enjoying her visit until an off-hand reference to her geographical location in the Country made me realise that I had flunked my hostess's introduction of her as the British Ambassador's wife of a little more than five minutes standing in the territory.
A week or so ago, on a hitand-run visit to Rome, I bordered on the petulant about chairs and trestles and tables cluttering the entrance to St Peter's, only to discover from a newspaper photograph on the flight back that I had just missed the Beatification of Sister Jeanne Jugan, French founder of the Sisters of the Poor, and an Italian missionary Father Salvatore Lilli.
May they not hold it against me when they're canonised.
More sombrely but just as trivially, in the sunshine of a Dublin morning, we wondered almost disinterestedly why so many flags were flying at halfmast.
It was much later I realised we should have known it was a farewell salute to an Irish soldier blown up in the Lebanon while on United Nations duty. May he, too, overlook such indifference and accept a belated prayer.
`Jo Louis' in.. . Chicago ring
YOU KNOW it puts me right back in my corny Catholic corner to say that. I may even be shuffling my feet a bit and looking down at the floor. The sort of thing that cheered me up again was to read about Cardinal Cody's successor in the teeming Archdiocese of Chicago, Archbishop Joseph Louis Bernardin. ,
I was much moved to read in Time magazine of how, in the subject of his troubled predecessor, he spoke to his congregation in the Holy Name Cathedral.
"I was four years old when the Cardinal became a priest. We are men of different generations and different experiences. I was saddened by the pain, suffering and conflict that seemed to cloud his final years. By any objective measure, Cardinal Cody did many good things for Chicago that make my work easier. If any hard feeling, bitterness or anger — toward the Cardinal or among yourselves remain in your hearts, tonight is the night to cast off this burden."
Applause and a standing ovation.
`Bruiser Bruce' remembered
A PRAYER too for two other characters who slipped away before I knew it. Martin Thornton, one-time professional boxer, poteen maker and storyteller from the west of Ireland. The first professional boxing match I ever broadcast was his against Doncaster's Bruce Woodcock at the old Theatre Royal in Dublin and, though that was a somewhat sorry tale, at least he did climb into the ring against a man of iron.
The other one who left us was Seamus Ennis, piper and folklorist, who most of his life kept life at a distance and dreamed his own dreams.
Charlie takes a tumble
MARGARET Thatcher may not be very pleased with us Irish at the moment but I doubt she got through her recent visit to Hong Kong without hearing an Irish accent or two in high places there.
The owner of one such accent and associated with multimillion dollar race course out there — has just written to a friend of mine asking the latest news from home with particular reference to the political situation and the struggle by Charles J. Haughey, not only to maintain his position as Taoiseach but as leader of the ruling Fianna Fail party. The neat summation is already in the post.
"Charlie is still in the saddle but riding without stirrups!"