Christmas Tales – or stories told after numerous cocktails.

Ah, it’s that time of year when tales are told, especially after a few.

No one can tell a story like the person who originally told it and if they played a part in it, even better.  With that in mind I will attempt to tell two of the best stories I have heard in recent years.  They were told to me during Christmas last year.Picture of Alan Deering

The apple does not fall far from the tree.  If you know Tom Deering and me then perhaps you will appreciate these tales a bit more.

…but before I begin…I just love the Irish common phrase “I have a little bit of news”.  To us Americans that would mean I broke a wine glass or the cat is sick.  For the Irish it’s just the opening for “I lost my job, my girl friend is pregnant and the doctors say its triplets be Jesus, I’m about to declare bankruptcy and I am seriously thinking about a sex change operation before I move to Cambridge Massachusetts”.  Then they pause and ask “how are ya anyway?”

The Deerings live in Hacketstown, Ireland which is about 30 miles from Courtown.  Alan and his mates had made plans to attend a dance and Alan was told he could use the family car.  Plans change and when Saturday night came Alan’s parents took the car.  Panic set in.  Alan had committed to pick the lads up along the way and now he had no transportation.  What to do?  What to do?Tractor

Alan put on his Sunday best, shinned his shoes and then went to the barn and started up the old tractor.  Along the way picked up his two friends, who, to put it mildly, were a bit shocked.  I just love that word “bit”.  Off they go to the dance and Courtown.

Normally that drive in a car on the back roads takes about half an hour, in a tractor over an hour.  Ah but where to park the tractor?  They certainly did not want any of the lovelies to find out they were driving a tractor, so they parked it some distance from the dance hall.

Needless to say a good time was had by the lads.  Phone numbers were gotten and promises were made.  Could have been more but Alan’s didn’t share those details.  Fair enough for this trip.

It is understandable that a few pints were consumed during the evening and it was now about two in the morning.  Time to make the trek home.

They were about twenty miles out when they were stopped by the Garda.  Now what would you be doing dressed up like this driving a tractor on the back roads at three in the morning, he might ask.

Cow gone missing

“Some of O’Connors cows went missing and we thought we would help the poor chap out by rounding them up.”

One said.

“Good lads” the Garda says…”there ya go now off with ya.”

The Irish have a clever and quick response to most anything asked of them.

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Off to Australia with Karen Smith and Colleen Carney .  After teaching in Korea for a year these two tulips (another Irish word that I love and it is used to describe people with unusual behavior) went on a whirlwind tour of China, New Zealand, Tasmania, Australia, Cambodia and Thailand.  I’m sure I missed a few places.

On a sad note, they ended their stay in Phuket, Thailand. They left the day before the devastating tsunami hit leaving thousands and thousands of people dead and homeless.

The plan was to travel around Australia and to trek to the outback to camp for a week or so.  Not an easy task.  Australia is more than just big and the trip was a bit longer than Hacketstown to Courtown.

Before they set out for their outback experience they visited Broome.pearls

Broome is a pearling and tourist town in the Kimberley region of Western Australia.  The year round population is approximately 15,000 growing to more than 45,000 during the tourist season.  Broome is home to the Ms. Broome Pageant and the winner is invited to start the horse races at the Melbourne Grand Prix and to participate in the Ms. Melbourne pageant.  It was as big, ok maybe not as big, as the X-Factor is in Ireland.  The competition was held at Tokyo Joe’s every year and travelers and locals alike would enter for their chance at fame, free booze, and $300 Australian. Karen was approached by a promoter and was immediately sold on the idea of dressing up and drinking for free.  The lovely, slightly inebriated Karen pulled away from the rest of the competition with a dazzling talent act and stunning presentation of her swim suit.  The reigning and vying for a repeat Ms Jude aka the Queen of Broome, also suspected of being from another planet, and seeming quite content that this prize was hers to keep for the next ten or so years, was not a happy person and proceeded to project a Hogwarts type spell in Karen’s direction.   Ah the vanity of it all.

High on life, the lovelies accepted a dinner invitation the next night from two handsome Aussie surfers… They insisted on taking these beauties to an upscale restaurant located on the beach, serving off a four star menu that Karen recalled included delicious duck.  I only hope it wasn’t George Carlin’s duck. Having consumed numerous beverages they remember ordering lots of appetizers, several bottles of fine champagne, entrees and of course desserts with after dinner cocktails.

Perhaps it was just a coincidence that the evil Ms. Jude (now the former Ms. Broome) was sitting at the next table continuing to give off curses that would eventually cause the girls serious consequences.

The ladies were living the life and eating like no traveler ever does and were delighted they had found two rich guys disguised as poor surfers chasing the Aussie sun.

Boy were they wrong. After they had eaten everything within reach, the “gentlemen” surfer dudes informed the girls that they didn’t have any money and they were going to jump the fence in the back and ditch the bill. They said unless you want to pay for it, we suggest you do the same and left. They were dumbfounded and stared at each other speechless for a second… how did they get hooked up with this trash?? Then they realized they had no other choice but to follow suit because even with Karen’s Broome winnings, that dinner was WAY out of their budget. So, they too “went to the bathroom”, jumped the fence, met the boys out back and sprinted to another bar, laughing fiendishly and deliriously at their perfect crime. They went on to have a great night out, using all that unspent dinner money on copious shots of chartreuse and double cocktails. (They have no idea why they didn’t give those cheapskate dudes a piece of their minds but…)

The very next morning, bright and early, hung over and late, the tulips boarded their six day Outback challenge adventure where they and a few other hardy travelers would live, eat, sleep, swim, bathe, and shit in the wild… miles and hours away from any other soul. Four days in they arrived at a gas station in the middle of nowhere. The phone was in a refrigerator to keep it cool. There was a dilapidated service shack in which to buy your gas and sundries. Attached to the door of this shack was a note that read: KAREN SMITH AND COLLEEN CARNEY- CONTACT THE BROOME POLICE.

They were having puppies. The tour guide and their companions just shook their heads wondering what the crazy yanks had done now. They had to delay the tour so the girls could call the Broome police (from the phone in the fridge). The detective Karen spoke to told them that they were wanted for failing to pay the tab at a local restaurant in Broome. The owner of the establishment was pressing charges and if it wasn’t settled, they would be met by officials in Darwin and deported from the country. Karen told the detective their story and about the guys. They didn’t know how to locate them so the police could not offer any help.  She told Karen to contact the owner to see if he would let them settle it directly with him. Otherwise they would face police charges.Karen and Colleen Backpacking

The next day they had to go back to the same phone booth in the middle of nowhere to contact the owner. After much discussion (Karen pleading), he finally said they could pay the tab directly with him and he wouldn’t press charges…Which they did– relieved but pissed off (bye bye prize $). He then said he wouldn’t have bothered with going to the police at all but another young woman who was dining at the restaurant said she knew one of the girls… American… staying at so and so hostel… going on Outback challenge through this company…. Ratted out to the police by none other than the evil, alien, loser from hell, Jude, the former Queen of Broome.Beach in Broome Australia

Karen Smith is a school teacher in California and the former Miss Bloome, an excellent writer in her own right and contributed greatly to this story

Alan Deering is a banker and has an affinity to land owners that have road frontage… Huh?

Colleen Carney is a marketing executive for HubSpot located in the Republic of Cambridge, Massachusetts

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