Memories of my uncle Joe

Memories of Uncle Joe (4-12-22)

Uncle Joe Sheeran, “Big Joe”, is 13 years dead this Tuesday December 6th.

I have very happy memories of him. I really liked him and enjoyed talking to him.

Once I brought my slightly pretentious artistic friend, Michael Connaughton, from Howth, to visit Joe in Mountcharles. Michael was a government artist, as they say. All his life, he drew the dole!

Anyhow, Michael told Joe he was organising a Poetry Festival.

“Oh” says Joe “and what does a Poultry festival involve?”

Then Joe asked Michael “Do you pay much tax?”

You had to laugh. Joe had a great way of winding you up!

I have so many good memories of Big Joe. And he was big.

He loved his grub. A Matson failing. The big-boned Northeners. My genes too.

Actually Joe was named Joseph Matson Sheeran, I think.

I am 18 stone myself now. Back then, I swore I would never end up too heavy.

I used to lecture Joe on the importance of walking! God forgive me…..

“Anno Domine” as my Dad would say. The years pass….

We talked about  so much. We covered a lot of ground. Joe had a few hobby horses that you had to steer around. I always felt welcome in Joe’s. I was single then and glad of warm, comfortable refuges where my strong Christian Faith was accepted.

Joe had good humour too. He ying and yanged great with Máire. She is still holding her own.

He always encouraged me strongly to get married. I was not sure back then if maybe i was meant to stay single for the Lord.

He was right. My happiness in life really only started when i got married. 10 years ago now.

Many times he told me how he met Máire and fell in love. He knew straight away she was the one for him.

We shared a lot in our conversations. He trusted me and liked me. He was clever too. As he got older, he was not so well. We became deeper in our discussions.

God, I loved Joe.  I was not unaware of some of his weak points.

John Collins, my old Howth friend, used to say “You can’t bullshit a bullshitter”.

Joe’s love of his family shone through. His pride in his work was also important. Young Joey really inherited this gift.

Joe is a warm glow in my mind. I know he was a bit of a lovable rogue, in some ways, like Shakespeare’s Falstaff, but he was good to me. He was a good friend to me.