Home > Mammy Walsh's A-Z of the Walsh Family (Walsh Family #6)(8)

Mammy Walsh's A-Z of the Walsh Family (Walsh Family #6)(8)
Marian Keyes

I was minding JJ one day and didn’t we bump into Mona Hopkins. ‘This is JJ,’ I said, shoving him forward and saying a silent little prayer: Don’t make a show of me.

‘Ooh,’ says Mona, making a study of your man, in his blue nail varnish, his home-made net headband and his mammy’s old T-shirt that says ‘Boys Are Mean’. ‘I’d say you’ll break a few girls’ hearts when your time comes. What do you want to be when you grow up?’

‘Darcey Bussell,’ JJ says, quick as a flash.

‘You do not!’ says I, and I was this near to hopping my hand off his head. ‘You want to be a lorry driver. Or a cowboy. He does,’ I said to Mona Hopkins and I was sort of begging, you know …?

‘Are we finished talking to this old woman now?’ JJ says. ‘I want to prance around and imagine things.’

Holly is as bad but in a different way. A timid little dolly, neat and tidy and scared of her own shadow. A drip. A right watery oul drip, not a laugh to be had from her. There was one day I was left in charge of her and I suggested we go to the zoo, but she said in her whispery little voice that she was afraid of the monkeys. Then she said, ‘There might be boys at the zoo!’ She put her little hand on her chest and said, ‘I couldn’t handle boys!’ Well, for the love of the redeemer! What made her think I wanted to go to the zoo? I can’t stick the zoo! The smell in the elephant house – it stays with me for months afterwards.

So I said, ‘Well, what do you want to do? Just tell me and we’ll do it!’ She looked down at her pretty little dress and started swinging back and forth and she was clearly working up to a request, and suddenly I guessed what it was and I went cold, so very quickly I said, ‘I’m not going to Claire’s Accessories! Not again! I’m not able for all that … stuff.’ The last time I’d been in Claire’s Accessories, I don’t know what happened to me, but it was like all the earrings and hair slides and sparkly stuff started crowding round and clamouring at me and clawing at me and I took a weakness and thought I was going to faint. The assistant made me sit on a chair, like I was an old person. It was humiliating and I’m not doing it again.

Instead I took Holly to the Bodies exhibition, because Maisie Boylan went that time her relations were over from Canada and said it was simply marvellous and I wanted to see for myself what all the fuss was about. I’ll have to admit I wasn’t ‘gone’ on it; it was like being in a butcher’s shop and once or twice I had to swallow hard for fear I might vomit. But that was nothing compared to the carry-on of Holly. Everything was ‘Ewww’ and if it wasn’t ‘Ewww’ it was ‘Gross’ and when we got to the small intestines, she started to cry and demanded to be taken home.

‘Would you, for the love of God, shush!’ I said. ‘People are looking.’ But she wouldn’t let up and in the end I had to get her out of there and, to make matters worse, there was no refund on the tickets. Of course, with my senior citizen discount, mine wasn’t so dear, but still it was a waste of good money.

And there was worse to come – when we got back to the house, I got the head bitten off me by Margaret. ‘What were you thinking of, bringing her to that yoke?’ she said. ‘Why didn’t you just bring her to Monsoon and buy her a hairband! She won’t sleep for a week.’

I kept my counsel. I behaved with dignity. But I made up my mind there and then that that little drip could feck off if she thought I was ever taking her anywhere again. I bided my time and at Christmas I got my chance – she begged me to take her to Puss in Boots. ‘Please, Grandma, please.’

‘But what if you think the cat is scary?’ I asked (being sarcastic like, but not letting on).

‘I won’t, I won’t!’ she said, all pleady.

‘No, no, it might upset you,’ I said. ‘No, we’d best not chance it.’


Rachel and Luke (see under R for ‘Real Men’) have a little fellow, just coming up to two years of age. They’ve called him Moses (I ask you, but that’s the sort of caper they get up to in Brooklyn, so I’m told. When they asked me at bridge what his name was, I said, ‘Mike. Michael Patrick.’ I don’t care if I’m lying. I’m not setting myself up to be a laughing stock.) Despite his mortifying name, Moses is a handsome, good-natured little chap – he takes after his daddy.

Anna and her man have yet to ‘spawn’. Although I would hope that she would wait until she has a ring on her finger before she does it, but who cares what I think?

Helen says she’s never having children. Between ourselves, that is a big ‘relief’ to me.

G is also for Golf. Mr Walsh is a big fan of the golf. He plays a lot of it and when he’s not playing it, he’s watching it on the ‘box’. But I don’t mind. Not now that we have two tellies.

G is also for God. Or the Man Upstairs, as I like to call Him. He is definitely a ‘him’. I have no time for any of this Goddess lark. Or people who say they see God in nature. God is God, the way they describe Him in the bible. I am very devout. God is extremely powerful and it is best to keep on His good side.

Because of all the worry caused by my daughters, I pray a lot. If I was to be ‘picky’ with God, I’d have to say that He doesn’t always answer my prayers. But it doesn’t stop me asking. Father Lumumbo says that we shouldn’t treat our prayers as a ‘shopping list’ of all the things we’d like, which is baffling to me. If I am not to pray for nice things, then what am I to pray for?

H is for Happiness. I am not given to ‘thinking’ about things because, as far as I can see, the people who think a lot and even ‘philosophize’ about life are the most miserable of the lot of us. They are the ones who never smile at christenings and won’t eat a sandwich, and when you ask them why, they say, ‘What’s the point?’ And you say, ‘Shur, you have to eat to stay alive.’ And they look at you with ‘contempt’ and say, ‘Look at you, with your ham sandwiches, thinking you can cheat death. We’re all going to die.’ Miserable and rude, that’s what you become if you think too much.

My stance is that the less you think the better. I myself try to never think about things and if it does happen by accident I do not ‘dwell’ on them.

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