LegalEagleStar

… a kind of Legal Column

Posts Tagged ‘Texas

At home on The Ranch with G’son Toes

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All of us need somewhere to call home. I’m very lucky in that while I was born and reared both in Dublin and to a lesser extent Dundalk, I’ve always had my family around me. Family to me is everything. I am also lucky that I had both sets of Grandparents to learn from as well as many Uncles and Aunts who I must say, I was extremely privileged to have known.

I was born in Killester, a suburb of Dublin in the 1950s. Dublin was a very different place than it is today. Poverty was widespread and a lot of the City was derelict. Tenements prevailed throughout the inner city and a lot of children could be seen playing with skipping ropes and other improvised toys. Hop Scotch was a popular game and if you had a football, well you were a popular kid. No PlayStations, Computer Games or even Mobile Phones were about in those days. You were ‘well off’ if you had a phone in your house ! My mother used to bring me ‘into town’ to do the shopping. While I remember it being tiring I also remember it being a fascinating time. Mum used to make her own clothes. Her father was a Tailor and Cutter and he certainly trained her well. Many a memory I have of calling into the Wollen Mills on the Quays, then across the Metal Bridge to a small shop where she’d buy the buttons, zips and such like. Then on to meet up with her friends and have a ‘chat’. We got the Bus everywhere. Only a few people had a car and I suppose when we got fed up with the Radio, we paid a visit to a friend’s house to watch their Tele. To watch Match of the Day, in Black and White, on a fuzzy screen was marvelous. Top of the Pops, if you could get BBC was amazing. They were tough times but I have nothing but good and fond memories of those days.

At the end of the month we used to take the train to Dundalk to see my Dad’s family. My Dad worked in British Railways so we had Privilege Tickets. This meant that we got a Return Ticket for half the price of a Single. I remember getting excited when the train crossed the Boyne after leaving the station at Drogheda and waiting to pass through Dunleer and then Castlebellingham. My Dad would point out the landmarks as we approached Dundalk. We’d take a Taxi from the station to Broughton Street where Grandad used to live. My cousins were great. I was the youngest grandchild and as my cousins were nearly all girls, we’d play house and of course I was always the baby/child. Ah those were the days.

While I have great memories I’m also very aware that others weren’t so lucky. Artane Boys School was ‘down the road’ from me in Donnycarney. On the outside the building looked amazing but unfortunately we now know, that all was not so rosy inside. Having met a number of the victims of child abuse who were resident there when I was a little boy growing up, I feel sorry that they were not able to have had the support of a family as I did.

When I had children myself, I made a pledge that I would try to be as good to them as my Mum and Dad were to me. I think we’ve done OK as a family despite marriage breakdown some years ago. It wasn’t an easy time but myself and the children got on with our lives. Now, being a Grandad myself I can watch the next generation starting out on their journeys in life. Toes, as regular readers of my ramblings will know, is my grandson. While he’s now approaching the terrible twos and showing appropriate signs ūüė¶ I’ve had the privilege of being part of his life since the day he was born. Lisa and Eddie are good, doting parents and I wish them well. I, for my part have done my fair share of babysitting so far and none more so than in Texas this past summer. They say that travel broadens the mind and if that is so, then Toes has had a great start in life. I got on a plane for the first time when I was eighteen. Toes on the other hand, probably qualifies as a frequent traveller at this stage and he’s not even two !

Life without family would be unbearable for me. That is what life is all about. It’s what keeps me going. While I sit here in Texas with Toes and walk about the land, trying to keep up with him, us both dressed like we’re locals wearing our Cowboy Hats, I do realise what a privilege it is to be part of a loving family. We are very lucky and it is sad that all children don’t get the opportunities that both myself and now Toes enjoy.

LegalEagleStar , San Antonio, Texas, Tuesday, 27th. September , 2011.

Written by LegalEagleStar

September 30, 2011 at 4:00 pm

Storms over Texas and sadness over Georgia

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texas storm

Image by {Wes} via Flickr

Storms arrived into Southern Texas on Saturday and continued throughout Sunday. Starting out as mostly thunder, followed by huge rain drops but a foot apart ! Then later there was some really heavy rain which was badly needed. I then did what all good Texans do when it rains heavily… I reversed the car out of the Garage. This I’m told is a Texas Car Wash !

Now I know Fr Jimmy has prayed for rain for months and his prayers have been answered despite some cynics /doubters on Twitter, but I did say a little prayer myself that the sun reappears if only until I vacate the State at the end of the month. If we in Ireland could export our rain to Texas we’d all be wealthy and tell the Troika to F Off. I can now say that my prayer was answered and we’re enjoying a great spell of weather again. There is a God after all.

Well, Mass on Sunday with Fr Jimmy was as exciting as ever. That man can really keep your attention, is very witty but gets his point across. His Masses last nearly two hours and later people queue up just to thank him and shake his hand. My daughter was one of these and gave him a Big Hug. She says of him that he is ‘A Priest like my Grandad would have liked. A real connection with God’. So prayers said, we all headed to Jim’s for Breakfast. ‘There’s always something good cookin’ at Jim’s !’ is written across the top of the Menu. It seems the founder opened a Bicycle Rental Business in 1947 and placed a Watermelon Stand outside. You guessed, it developed into the Chain of Restaurants today known as Jims and is now a great favourite here in San Antonio for breakfast. The gentleman serving us was a kind and gentle man. Slightly older than me. An ex-teacher he told us. He’d taken a break from the School system and now couldn’t get back in. Now he was working at Jims. He said his name was Ealy but that his ancestors who came to America from Ireland, had been called Healy. He went on to say that the family were divided into two groups. One being Artists while the other were Thieves. He believed it was the latter group who ventured to America. The alternative history of the Healys he said, was that Mr Healy married a Mexican woman and moved to Mexico. It seems they have no ‘H’ in Mexico so Healy became Ealy ! Having been up for hours and sat through two hours of Fr Jimmy I was now starving so ordered The Rustlers Roundup..3 Eggs,Sausage,Grilled ham and bacon, served with Hash browns or Grits and toast or flaky biscuits $7.69. I did say I was hungry. My daughters put in their separate orders while Toes had Texas French Toast:…Three Texas-sized slices hand-dipped, grilled and served with syrup and powdered sugar $4.79 and of course, Milk. Where Toes put the food I have no idea. I didn’t hang around to find out anyway as with his mother on hand, I felt his nappies were her business ! Well after that feast it was back home and a quiet day in front of the TV. Starting with The Disney Channel then later my daughters choice. I now hate MTV !

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While I write this piece, I’m saddened to hear of the execution of Troy Davis in Georgia. Despite the apparent production of evidence which suggested a miscarriage of justice, the State nonetheless executed him. I abhor violence of any kind and violence inflicted by The State is, to my way of thinking, the worst possible kind. The premeditated murder in such clinical circumstances is wrong. Scripture says ‘vengeance is mine says The Lord’. Well I believe that. The execution of a human being by The State is not justice, it’s vengeance. I take no pride in the fact that here in Texas the State seems the worst offender in this regard. On too regular a basis I see on the News stories about the latest person to have been executed. Governor Perry obviously is a strong believer in Capital Punishment. While I respect him as Governor I do take issue with some of his policies and on this one we’ll never agree. Just think of the poor families who arrive at the Prison of Execution to collect the Body Bag containing the remains of their Father, Son, Brother or other relative. Absolutely horrific. I’m not a soft Liberal like some Republicans may suggest but I do not believe in the Old Testament where it demands ‘a tooth for a tooth’. I am a lawyer practising for over 30 years now and I am a firm believer in the concept of¬† justice. I condemn those who murder, rape and terrorise our Citizens and believe the State has a role to play in removing from society, those criminals responsible for such heinous acts. You won’t find me soft on these issues. But C’mon Governor Perry. Here in Texas, where we have a predominant Christian Society, please, where is your compassion? Justice is not directing vengeance on the victim and his/her family. If it is then you and me need to talk as The Christ I believe in obviously differs somewhat from yours.

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Finally, I’d like to remember the mother of a close friend of my son who died suddenly from a Brain Hemorrhage. Jean Carley. May she rest in peace.

 LegalEagleStar , San Antonio , Texas , Thursday , 22nd. September , 2011 .

Sleep, or the lack thereof, Toes and a Scorpion

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Texas Scorpion

Image by Pierce Place via Flickr

Ever since raising my children, for the most part single-handed, I have got into the habit of working late. When I say late, sometimes this could mean, well,¬†through the night.¬† Then having to ferry the children to school, get to work myself, arrange collecting them at lunchtime, driving to swimming pools, football training etc. Then repeat the above… My one joy which was denied me was a lie-in in the morning. The thought of not having to get up to do something. This thought of heaven has mostly eluded me but I’m working on it. Having arrived back to Texas last Monday evening I was determined to treat myself to a long lie-in. The though even excited me. So much so that I stayed up late, watched TV,¬† had numerous conversations with friends on Twitter, then Facebook. I even phoned some friends for a chat. Life was good. At 4 a.m. I hit the bed. Really tired and the thought of a sleep-in was all too much. Ah, Heaven on earth.

Shortly after 8 a.m. I awoke to what sounded like a Police Raid. Bedroom door being bashed, kicked, then finally opened. In came the culprit. It was my Grandson Toes. ‘Morning ‘ I called out. Then stretching an arm from beneath the bedclothes I ushered Toes back in the direction of the door. It worked. Silence re-enveloped the entire room. Seconds later, in truth it was probably more like 10 minutes or so, my daughter arrives into my bedroom on the phone. I think she was on the phone. Well she was at some stage. I remember her asking me whether she should cancel Terminix or reschedule, as they say out here. I think I said ‘yeah, cancel’ ¬†but I also remember saying ‘sure I’ll stay home and let them in’. It was the latter comment, which I was later informed, was uttered by me some minutes after the phone call had ended…which was the cause of said daughter goose-stepping it out of the room, Gestapo style, clearly¬†in bad form. Oh God, what had I done now. To confront the situation or.. yes, back to sleep I decided was the best course of action. Moments later I hear a shriek. It was Toes. No, I didn’t jump up, just froze. There were enough adults in the house, no doubt up for hours at this stage,¬†who could deal with whatever crises had arisen. Then more voices.. and Toes going EEEhhhheee. Then ‘Oh My God’ from my younger daughter. At this I¬†sprang into action, grabbed a pair of shorts, to make myself decent and jumped straight into my boots. Normally I would not do the latter without first turning out¬†said boots, as in Texas bugs and critters have been known to climb into a pair of boots while the wearer sleeps. As I walked forward I was not bitten, nothing was squelching under foot and so I felt safe…relieved really. Anyway, Toes emitted the EEEhhhheee sound again. I was now outside my bedroom door faced by¬†three grown adults, all terrified and pointing in Toes direction. ‘What’s happened’, I enquired somewhat puzzled. LOOK, AAgghhh. Toes had discovered a Scorpion. Not in the healthiest condition of his life, clearly suffering from some¬†treatment or other, rendered to the property by the aforementioned Terminix. Looking around at the frightened faces I asked ‘Is this it?’ Yes, Yes , do something. Dressed in T-shirt, my son’s Football Shorts and Cowboy Boots I proceeded to stand on said Scorpion who, at this stage I felt sorry for… and do the dreaded deed. He must have been terrified being confronted by Toes and Family. Then a voice perks up from behind..’Coffee anybody’. It was son-in-law who had fallen in behind the group, staying safely away in case the scorpion, by some miracle, jumped up and bit his bloody head off.

So, coffee it was and any thoughts of indulging in long periods of relaxation or even sleep, faded into distant memory. Ah sure there’s plenty of time for lie-ins….¬†There¬†is ??

 

LegalEagleStar , San Antonio , Texas , Monday , 12th. September , 2011 .

Written by LegalEagleStar

September 12, 2011 at 7:20 am

Upgraded to First Class, met by Tornadoes, then Wildfires. Welcome back to Texas.

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Bastrop Wildfires

We left Dublin Airport at midday Monday en route to meet up with family members in Texas. On arrival at the Departure Gates my daughter and myself heard the welcome news that my eldest daughter had arranged an upgrade for us to First Class on Delta to Atlanta. So, we both slouched down in luxury for our Transatlantic Flight. We were both oblivious to what lay ahead and never noticed the fact that the Pilot never spoke to us regarding weather conditions en route nor at Atlanta, our initial destination. While the landing was rough and the weather very rainy, we thought nothing of it. We had come from Ireland after all and such conditions are an everyday occurrence. Well, shock registered upon watching CNN while awaiting our connecting Flight to San Antonio. We heard that two tornadoes had touched the ground in Atlanta about the time our flight was landing. We communicated that to my daughter in San Antonio who informed us that she thought we’d been diverted elsewhere because of the stormy conditions. As it turned out we arrived in San Antonio, safe and sound, only an hour behind schedule. After leaving Thunderous Cloudy skies in Atlanta, we still encounter thick clouds through Alabama, Mississippi and into Louisiana. Only when we hit The Great State of Texas did we see clear skies again. A great sight to behold after the drama we’d just left behind. More drama was to greet us though, as we could see Wildfires north of San Antonio and south of Austin. After speaking with friends, we realised that the City of San Antonio Fire Department has been and is fighting Wildfires in an around our city. Many people have lost their homes and there have been a number of fatalities. This State has seen little or no rain since I was here last May/June. In fact at that stage, they were praying for rain each Sunday at Mass. What a change from what we are used to in Ireland. I contacted a pal in Austin yesterday to tell her we’d arrived and looked forward to seeing her. She said she’s have to see how the situation was in a few days time as there have been outbreaks of bush-grass fires near her home and in fact she feared for the safety of her area. I pray that she and the rest of the people here in this Great State overcome their current difficulties. What they wouldn’t do for some of our Irish Rain here now in Texas.

As for me, I’m back where I love, Texas with it’s huge clear blue skies and temperatures in the mid to high 90s. I’m here enjoying life with most of my family including Toes, my grandson. Thanks to someone’s prayers I survived to tell this tale. My late father would be 95 today if he’d lived. No doubt he’s still looking out for all of us.

LegalEagleStar , San Antonio , Texas , Thursday , 8th. September , 2011

Written by LegalEagleStar

September 8, 2011 at 7:31 am

A Pint of Harp, Smoking a Cigarette while sitting at The Bar… and criticising Gerry Adams !

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Harp

Image by pwinn via Flickr

Every Tuesday evening, without fail, my pal drove from Terenure to my Office in Fairview,¬† where we would have a chat, sort out any computer problems, then head across the road to Kavanagh’s Pub or down the road to Meaghers, for a few Pints. Many a time we had to return to the Office to finish off some techie stuff, working through the small hours and, on more than one occasion, we ended up in Jury’s Coffee Dock, Ballsbridge for Breakfast. Those days were in the late 1980’s and come the Drink Driving Laws, we decided it would be safer for him to arrive by Taxi to my house and then we’d walk to my Local. By this stage my pal could not get his favourite beverage, a Pint of Harp, anywhere in Dublin, bar the Airport and used to content himself with whatever lager was on tap that night. He was also a heavy smoker, about 60 plus a day of Non-tipped Players Navy Cut. He said they’d be the death of him. Then the Smoking Ban was brought into law by Michael Martin TD and so he could not have a smoke with his ‘substitute’ Pint. This upset him i.e. the loss of a Pint of Harp and a smoke at the Bar.

On a trip we both took to Texas, he insisted on flying into Houston as there was a Firing Range he wanted to visit. ‘Top Gun’ was the name of the establishment. He was a crack shot and this was clearly in evidence when I observed him in action. The owner of the Range and him struck up a great conversation as they had a lot in common. For my part, I took more interest in their T-shirts and purchased one for my daughter, a bodyguard, to wear on the Firing Range she practises on in Slovenia. We took this trip back when Hurricane Rita was heading towards Texas. The night before, I had explained to him that in Texas they were really proud of their State, so if asked if he’s been there before that the answer was a definite ‘No‘. He’d been to the United States on numerous occasions before but I felt I should warn him. Despite my warning he proceeded to Chat Up the Bar Maid and after her serving me my lovely Pint of Shiner Boch, a good Texan Beer, she asked him what his pleasure was. He hesitated in ordering but continued to chat to her. Then.. ‘Have you been here before’ she asked. He replied¬† ‘Yes, I had a girlfriend in Santa Barbara (California) for many years’. Upon hearing this she promptly walked away and refused to serve him. I had to order his beer for him for the rest of the night.

The following day, I had a call from a pal who advised me to get the hell out of Houston as The Governor of Texas, Rick Perry was about to order the evacuation of the City. I relayed this to my Pal who insisted on finishing his meal before taking up the challenge of driving us both to San Antonio to be out-of-the-way of the Hurricane. I always enjoyed his company, not his driving so the journey was, well eventful so to speak. But, I move on… Just north of San Antonio is a fantastic Outlet Mall located in San Marcos. After hours of shopping we headed into a Local Bar for a Pint, or two. Imagine his surprise when he saw, that behind the Bar, was a Tap labelled Harp. Well, I decided that I’d be the designated driver while my pal proceeded to drink the keg dry. He was a staunch Irish Republican and did not approve of Gerry Adams at all. He though he sold out Republicans and, whatever my own views, we had many a heated debate and this session was no different. Needless to say he engaged all the locals in this conversation and sang Irish Rebel Songs for hours and we really had a great Night. I though we’d be in trouble though when he called the local American Football Team ‘Pussies’. As he was an avid Rugby fan, he told all that ‘real men didn’t wear all that padding’. To my surprise, we were not ejected or set upon but warmly welcomed by all present. On that trip it became obvious to me that everything wasn’t right with him. He spoke about his ex-girlfriend from California so much so, that I attempted, on more than one occasion, to get him to call her. He wouldn’t and well, he was annoyed that I was trying to bully him into doing so. He was a very private guy and one hell of a friend. The type of friend who would drop all to come to your assistance regardless of how inconvenient it might be for him.

A couple of years ago he phoned me. No, it was not a Tuesday, but a Friday and he asked me if¬† I’d like a Pint. I was tired after a very long week but said ‘Yeah, I’d love one’. An hour later the taxi dropped him off at my door. He looked great and was in great form. We headed to my local pub where we enjoyed a few pints. He listened to me moaning about the economy; the way that people had changed; that everyone was now a European and had no time for their fellow countrymen; and such like. He was calm and composed and while agreeing with me on most issues, said he didn’t like the way the Country was at all. That times had indeed changed and that he didn’t like living here any more. That the country was a disappointment to him and wondered what those that had died fighting for the country would make of it all. We finished up the night at my house where we had a Pizza delivered; he had the usual chat with my daughters of whom he was very fond and he gave his usual rendition of Republican Songs for the benefit of Lulu, my daughter’s African Grey Parrot, who really loved him. A great night was had by all and the usual Taxi Firm arrived about Three in the morning to drive him home.

Some days later, my cousin, his best pal, telephoned me and asked if I was sitting down. He then told me that our pal was dead, having shot himself through the head. I was numb and still am to a certain extent. My cousin still hasn’t got over this event. I think back and wonder, if there was anything, anything at all, I could have done …

 

 

LegalEagleStar , Wednesday , 22nd. June , 2011.

Toes, Mass and the end of the World.

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Ring, Ring. Hello, “Hi Tom. What’s the weather like out there?” It’s dark, I respond. It’s, it’s eh, 4:30AM. “You must be really having a Great time, up at this time… Hold on M wants you. Glad you’re enjoying yourself”. Eh, I’m asleep ! No answer… I’m obviously on Hold. “Hi Tom, G says you’re having a great time. Lucky you. What can I do for you?” Uh, You phoned me ! “You’re a terrible man. Did you get Fed-Ex to deliver that back to Dublin?”¬† But, I told J that I sent it Monday. Should be delivered Thursday, that’s tomorrow. “You’re funny, that’s today. Read your Blog the other day and looking forward to seeing that haircut. It sounds rough.” By now I am convinced I’ve been dreaming. A nightmare actually. OK, I say well work hard, see you guys… sometime. “OK, Thanks for calling.” …….

Toes with his Hat

The day after the World was supposed to end at 6PM here in Texas, we headed to Sunday Mass at St Joseph’s Church in Spring Branch. As Toe’s (my grandchild) Dad flew back to Dublin on business the day before, the question was whether to bring Toes, as he’s only 16 months old. We decided to risk it. Toes had acquired his first Cowboy Hat a few days previous and insisted on wearing it. This is the child that had refused to wear a hat or cap since birth but had decided to look like Grandad. So into the Church we went just before 10. After a little persuasion he handed me his hat and we put it beside mine, on the seat beside us. When Fr Jimmy, an ex-cop called all the children onto the alter a few minutes later Toes wanted to go up so his Mum brought him. Of course when there he sat beside a good-looking Blonde and pushed Mum away. So, Mum returned to sit beside me and Toe’s Uncle. We were apprehensive as Toes can sometimes Yell, Scream, Cry and suchlike but he was behaving himself and obviously falling in love with the Blonde Girl beside him. Not ever an utterance of his only word ‘Assse’.

Fr Jimmy told of his experiences the previous day. He asked the children what a priest wears. Black trousers, back Shirt, and Roman Collar. He said he was so dressed when he went into the HEB Store (like Tescos except about 50 times larger) to get some groceries. He had decided to take a short-cut through the Wine and Beer Section where he was stopped in his tracks by a young lady. “Hey Father. Don’t you know the World is going to end at 6PM tonight?” He replied that No, he didn’t think it would. The young lady engaged in conversation on this subject with him for some time when he noticed a large crowd had gathered. One lady asked him what time Mass was at. He replied 5PM. She asked him would he not start it at 5:30 so that everyone would be in the Church come 6PM. Fr Jimmy replied that she obviously had not attended one of his Masses as he’s only be about half way through by 6 ! Then a group of young Guys who were buying beer to take with them Tubing (They sit in the tube of a car tyre and raft down the rivers) asked him to Bless Them. Fr Jimmy obliged and a few minutes later observed them leaving and one guy says to the other, ‘Hurry up Guys, it’s 2 now. We only have 4 hours left”. Fr Jimmy concluded that being dressed in full Catholic Priest Uniform walking through your local HEB on the Day the World is supposed to end, is not a great idea !

To be fair to Toes he was very good. Never uttered a word, well that’s a slight lie but was so very well-behaved. Well, I am the proud Grandad.

We just got a phone call from a friend’s wife saying that the snake that had taken up residence in their pond was just seen with her daughters pet Frog in his mouth. ‘C’ has now resorted to hitting said snake on the head to try to rescue the frog while daughter (6) is going berserk. It could only happen in Texas !

LegalEagleStar , Friday , 10th. June 2011

San Antonio, Texas.

A Day in the life of an Irish Cowboy living in Texas, with Grandson !!

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State of Texas

Image by SMU Central University Libraries via Flickr

Woken early by crying Grandson. Lovely morning here in Texas, if you could drown out the sound of Toes. Toes is the name I gave him shortly after he was Christened as he had a fascination with his Toes. To get up and see to said child or turn over and hope that Mammy or Daddy will actually identify the cry of their beloved. OK, I turned over and went back to sleep. Yes I did but it became more impossible to ignore the cries. You know that cry which pleads with you, to your better senses. OK, eventually Mammy woke up and did the necessary.

Later on I decided I needed some therapy. While others go to the Spa and have massages and such like, Baldwin heads to the local Barbers Shop where a Korean Lady and her Texan Assistant always meet you with the same loving welcome…. “What You Want??” Eh, I could have said a Haircut but that would have been too obvious. Eh, usually get it cut, eh, with a Scissors (?). “What Number?” Em, now I knew what awaited me. My son years ago went from a Number 6 to a Nil Blade. Was the same fate awaiting me I wondered. OK said I, a Number 4. She replied “and ?” Well, was she asking me something else, but what?? Another Number !! OK, I replied Number 2. To be honest I hadn’t a clue what I’d just said or indeed ordered. Her Texan Assistant broke the ice somewhat by saying “Oh, I love your accent” . Great sorted. Nearly an hour later after having the sides nearly shaved but some hair, not much though, still visible on top, I went to stand up. “Don’t move.” I froze. Then the Texan took the hoover to me and literally hoovered my head, face and collar. I was then treated to a head massage, of sorts followed by a compulsive trimming of my Eyebrows. They both then looked me up and down and smiled. After more time showing me their masterpiece by the use of several mirrors I was released from the chair. To be fair to them both, I’ve never been pampered so much in my life. $10 was the Bill which I gladly paid plus a well deserved Tip before heading out to my son who said, Fair Play to you Dad. Some Haircut, with an evil grin on his face. My son had been looking after his nephew for the past hour or so and both seemed in good form. Thank God for small mercies.

As it was now nearing the unearthly hour of 10AM, I decided today was the day to get all those jobs done that took time. Well, we did have all day and Toes loves nothing better than a spin in the car. So I decided to get the Car Taxed and Inspected. The stickers on the Windscreen would soon alert the local SAPD that I was driving illegally. Well come June 1st that is. So off to collect my Caretaker’s Wife who is better than a Sat Nav. I might mention that without her I would literally drive around totally lost. In Texas if you take the wrong road you could end up in Mexico in no time at all. So my son, Toes and me drove over to collect said Sat Nav who calls me her ‘Twin Brother from Another Mudder’ as we were born exactly 1 hour apart back in 1958. I claim she’s the older twin but she doesn’t agree.

I drive past the Office where you pay the car tax with a smug look on my face as queues are not for me.The Queue is way past the door and spilling out onto the Street outside. My Sat Nav Twin directs me to a parking spot outside an unmarked Building. I had been here several times over the past few years and it always was a pleasure to do business. On entering through the side door I noticed there was a girl seated at both desks. One had a customer seated in front of her while the other lady was free. I usually say Hi and get a warm response and the usual ‘Oh I love your accent’. On this occasion however the lady who was free pointed me to the Take a Number Board. I took Number 14 and went where directed to take a seat and wait for said number 14 to be called. As I sat down the lady who was free gave me a frightening look. She let me sit for all of 10 seconds and then shouted “Next”. I looked around to see if there was someone in front of me, like the Invisible Man. Then I heard the words “You, are you deaf” ring out. Not a good start I thought but sure I’ll only be 2 or 3 minutes, just like last year, I thought. I then walked gingerly towards her as she pointed to where I should sit. My Sat Nav sat beside me while my son stood a safe distance away. Toes I placed on my lap. I then produced my Insurance and my Driving Licence as I’d done on numerous occasions before. She looks at them and then holds up my Driving Licence and says “What the hell is this?” My Driving Licence I said. I explained politely that I was Irish and lived in Dublin but that I had a home over here for vacations etc. She was unimpressed. I don’t think she believed one word of what I said. Remember now that I am in front of her desk in Boots, Jeans, Shirt and Cowboy Hat. She obviously had formed the opinion that I was a fraudster. She then asked whether there were any other Baldwins present. My son stepped forward. She asked him if he had a real driving licence. He produced his UK Driving Licence and she immediately said that was a real licence as she gives me yet another dirty look. At this stage I can feel cold sweat dripping from my brow. I then went to produce my Four Courts I.D. which would verify that I was a Solicitor. I then quickly thought again as there was a rather large sign on the door saying ”No Solicitors”. Not a good idea I thought. And of course I had left my Passport which contained an American Visa, well, back at the Ranch. At this point Toes decided to get involved and spoke. As his main word is Assse he uttered same with such passion that well, it didn’t really help my cause.

Suddenly she reached for the phone. At this point I thought, The Game is Up. She’s phoning the Police who will incarcerate me in the Local Lock-up. Poor Toes would see his Grandad being led away in handcuffs! I thought a quick call to my colleague Jim Adler, an attorney I trained with in Boston in the late 80’s would be necessary. He now calls himself “The Texas Hammer”. Yeah, he’ll sort this ‘Lady’ out. Or, what about the Governor, Rick Perry.¬† Sure he follows me on Twitter. He’ll definitely come to my rescue, won’t he ? But, to my relief I actually heard the person on the other end of the phone say ‘Yeah, no problem. Give Tom his Tax Sticker’. To say I was relieved would be an understatement. She then said she was prepared to Sell me the Car Tax but only on my son’s real Driving Licence. The Dublin Corporation Pink Driving Licence was thrown back at me and I was told under no circumstances to produce such a forgery again. That she would let me away with it this time. That it didn’t even look like a Driving Licence and was badly done anyway. I then paid her the grand sum of $54.30 and she gave me my Registration Renewal Receipt and Sticker. I left the office with my papers in order but a broken man, grasping Toes in my arms. But sure said my Sat Nav Twin, “she’s obviously not from Texas”.

Next port of call was a trip to this nice Mexican who ran an Inspection facility. I nervously walked in expecting the Police to be waiting for me. No, he was there ,a kind oldish guy. He took my Car Keys and 5 minutes later I was handed my sticker to say the car had passed and he even offered to put the 2 new stickers I had on the windscreen for me. I then paid him his fee, $14.20. The only strange thing was that he asked me what 8 was in German, for no apparent reason. I assured him I was Irish although I looked a local. Acht, I believe is 8 in German I said as I Thanked him and we went on our way.

A drive to Krispy Kremes was next as we needed some comfort food. Toes is 15 months old and not adverse to the odd bite of a Donut. The light was on as we approached so we knew we’d get some free donuts. On entering the building a young Mexican lad was walking towards the door eating a donut when Toes literally accosted him trying to prise the donut from his hand. Thank God the lad and his Mother saw the funny side of things. We bought a box of a dozen to bring home but Toes insisted on eating one whole one, on his own, even before leaving the shop. While driving home I got a whiff from the back seat and so though it only right to speed home and gives Toes back to his adorable mother.

At this stage I am contemplating an immediate Court challenge against Dublin City Council and having them explain before a High Court Judge why they had issued me, some 10 years ago, with such an obviously fraudulent document purporting to be a Driving Licence.

 

LegalEagleStar Friday, 3rd. June, 2011

San Antonio, Texas.

Written by LegalEagleStar

June 3, 2011 at 8:17 am

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