I think life is getting more complicated . Maybe it’s because I am advancing quickly up along the chronological ladder and I reflect back on the simple lifestyle I experienced during my youth in Kerry . There was the bog and haymaking, fishing , picking mushrooms, picking blackberries and making the jams, all simple pursuits.
Last week , here at home, I was pruning plants when suddenly I was despatched by the powers that be to buy two little fishing nets, the 2-euro type, because our two visiting treasures wanted to catch butterflies.
And so, I head for the kiosk in Courtown which is visible to you as you drive into the village and it is colourful and attractive as if it is beckoning you inside to purchase something.
This is a real gem with its cornucopia of fishing, nets, buckets, shovels, spades etc hanging around the exterior while inside it is a treasure trove of goodies.
Having parked the car, I went to the kiosk and asked for said nets only to be asked if I needed the bamboo one, the blue one or the yellow handled type. I opted for one blue and one yellow , paid by contactless and off I went proud as punch with my purchases.
And so, I proceeded back home to keep two children happy. I handed them over and you can’t imagine my horror when I was met with much wailing and ‘I want the yellow, I want the blue’. Senior powers intervened, the two nets were confiscated, and yours truly was despatched back to kiosk to get two nets exactly the same colour and net size .
This time as I drove in there was a queue at the kiosk and I duly took my place and sanitised my hands and waited my turn.
Immediately ahead of me was a father, son and daughter in law. Dad was of my own vintage and wanted to treat themselves to 3 cones and so up he pops and asks for 3 cones, whereupon he is asked if he wants small or large, with chocolate, sprinkles or syrup. The man replies that he just wants 3 cones and not a Sunday dessert and then the son embarrassingly turned around and offers me their place in the queue which I declined because I wanted to see the outcome of the cone selection. After a brief consultation Mary was delegated to order . She duly ordered one large plain cone, and two large cones with all the works. It was sheer joy to watch that attendant at work . The plastic gloves were donned with a little ceremony and then gingerly wrapped the cone with tissue and finally proceeded to fill the cones as she twirled and shaped them applying the flake, dipping in the sprinkle and adding some raspberry syrup. She was so proud of her creations, each a conical work of art. Her customers seemed happy enough too as they sauntered back to the wall to devour their cones having duly paid for same in cash. They were the real true-blue day trippers .
In my youth in Tralee we had the Lee Strand Creamery that sold straight plain cones from a stainless-steel cone machine with no frills, gloves or syrup . In addition, we had Healy’s dairy where the formidable Nell Healy held sway doling out cone after cone with great banter and always reminding us of those two great words Please and Thank you.
How times have changed since the 1904 World trade fair when an ice cream vendor ran out of clean dishes and the vendor next to her wrapped some of the ice cream in one of his waffles and voila, hey presto the cone is born.
Postscript; I bought two blue nets but by the time I got home interest in catching butterflies had waned somewhat and now they were used to net a poor wee kitten and afterwards for
Sword fighting. They were duly confiscated and now hang safely secure in the garage.
I should have bought a cone.