paddy sings the blues

Posted on June 22, 2009


paddy is my uncle. he’s lying on his deathbed wearing his favourite pink nappy.

the cancer will get me, he said, but he can’t kill me.
but, paddy, i said, if he gets you then you’ll die.

i thought you were a writer, son, he said. so what? i said.
so think beyond the grave, son. think mighty & you’ll see what i mean.

he began to sing in his lovely baritone deep and old as an oak barrel:

i knew a maiden in maine
and she came she came
so many times in my arms
and my stick stayed hard

then aunt polly came in with a bowl of potatoe puree. singing again, she said.
yope, paddy said and sang the second verse that we all know – he’s been singing it since i was a boy:

but she had a man
my maiden in maine
his name was harold
an accountant he was

he stopped, looked at the puree on his bedside table & at aunt polly, and his eyes got narrow. i don’t want that mush, he said.

you got no teeth, paddy, and the doctor said…
the doctor said i’ll be dead in three days & do you see me? do you see me? he cried.

i see you paddy, loud and clear, she said & sighed. good old polly from poughkeepsie.
you never sing the end of that song, i said. i’m curious what happened to harold, and to the maiden.

it’s the blues, son, the blues. the accountant don’t get the blues, he said, winking.
i don’t understand, uncle paddy.

i’m the maiden, polly said & smiled slyly.
really? you never told me, i said. i mean, was there a harold?

there sure was, paddy said & chuckled. he didn’t get the blues but he was well endowed, yes he was. paddy was laughing fat tears now.

auntie polly blushed. uncle paddy smiled. he took a spoonful of puree & said You’re a great cook, polly.
and you’re a great hubby, she said and gave him a kerygmatic kiss right on the lips, right in front of me.

i left wondering & blue in the face.

© 2009 finnegan flawnt