Hello, Hello, Hello! A couple of neat things to share. I wrote the song “On The Beach” several years ago about our beautiful Southwest Florida Coastline. Hope the song will take you there.
My friend, Jim Remington, wrote this excellent short story about an incident he and his wife experienced in Ireland!
Mostly Short, Mostly True Stories from Ireland
By Jim Remington
A Rock and a Hard Place
My last two stories for Celtic Connection have focused on events that occurred during a cycling trip my wife and I took in the southwest of Ireland in 2009. This story also was generated from that trip.
Cycling can certainly be described as a leisurely way to explore new horizons. If you have several days, a week or more to spend in an area, cycling sets a slower pace than traveling by car, bus or train. It puts you in touch with the countryside and heightens all your senses. You become aware of the subtle things: the smell and color of plants in bloom, the whistle of songbirds, clouds and changes in weather, conversations drifting across a meadow, the sound and smell of the nearby ocean. The countryside takes on a more personnel feel; you tend to pay more attention to your surroundings. Small roadside signs designating some little highlight can be missed or ignored from a car but not a bike. I’m a big fan of travelling this way. And of course being on a bike it pays, for safety sake, to stay in sharp focus with the road conditions and traffic. The narrow, twisty back roads of Ireland can be a safety challenge for any cyclist or pedestrian. Tour buses and cars tend to travel at faster speeds than the road conditions would normally dictate and everyone is driving on the opposite side of the road from what we are familiar with. Bikes travel with auto traffic in the left lane rather than the right, and this takes some getting used to. You have to stay tuned to your surroundings.
And this brings up an incident that occurred while we were on our cycling trip in the southwest of Ireland. We were heading towards Sheep’s Head on the narrow coastal road just past the small cross-roads town of Kilcrohane. The views were spectacular across Dunmanus Bay; rocky cliffs and lush green meadows rolling to the ocean on both sides of the bay. Sunlight angling on the water created a spectacular effect. We stopped frequently to take pictures and explore an old castle ruin and a hedge row school from the time of the British repression. We were just poking and soaking it in. We were almost lulled into a dreamlike state of senses. But fortunately my hearing was picking up the subtle sounds surrounding us and on a particularly narrow and curvy section of the road I began to hear a sound that seemed out of place. It was a heavy rattling, banging sound that was rapidly approaching from behind. My wife was a bit ahead of me and I called out to her that something big was approaching from behind. The road narrowed even more and I knew there would not be enough room for me, whatever was approaching from behind and a possible oncoming vehicle. And sure enough, suddenly I was in the center of a “perfect storm”. Right at the sharpest part of the corner, just as the vehicle was overtaking me from the rear (and probably couldn’t see me because of high bushes), a car appeared right in front of me. The driver immediately saw me and whatever was behind me, and realized there was not enough room for us all. I looked right into the oncoming drivers eyes which grew larger in size as the space narrowed. His eyes were the size of saucers and his expression was sheer terror. I knew I was between the proverbial rock and hard place. I was ready to bail into the dense bushes on my left when I heard the screeching brakes from in front and behind. I had enough time to think this was going to be bad. Time seemed to slow down but not quite to the point where my life flashed before me. I was still looking for a way out!
Well, we’ve all heard of the luck of the Irish and that day, at that place and time, there was an abundance of it. And I for one am thankful of that. What turned out to be a small car pulling a large horse trailer going way to fast managed to stop just inches shy of my rear wheel and the oncoming car squeezed through an impossibly small space defying all laws of physics. It was a miracle! We were all to live another day. I kept peddling and as the car/horse trailer passed me the women driver gave me a hearty wave. A “hi neighbor” wave, like she was going to invite me for lunch. I could only do one thing. I waved back. And fortunately I had worn my brown bike riding shorts.
Jim Remington is a teacher and director at the Lakewood School of Music in Lakewood, CO. and lives with his wife, 2 horses and 2 dogs in the Wet Mountain Valley near Westcliffe, CO. Jim can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks, Jim!!! Don’t forget – I’ll be performing live at Bill’s Happy Hour this afternoon at 4:30 PM EDST on Street Jelly! See ya there!
Have a Great First Spring Weekend!