James was famous throughout the North of Ireland, but barely known elsewhere. He worked tirelessly his whole life to bring our people together, He made us laugh at ourselves, then made us cry and then laugh again. God Bless you James you were loved by all.
The Papist & the Prod
I was born and bred in Sandy Row, a loyal orange Prod, a follower of King William, that noble man of god. As well as that a Linfield man as long as I can mind. I had no time for Catholic’s or people of that kind.
Then one night down in Bangor I met wee Rosie Brown, and from the minute I laid eyes on her sure my heart went up and down. And just when I thought she fancied me and my head was all a buzz, I clean forgot til ask her what her religion was. I never slept a wink that night I just lay there in bed, and thought about wee Rosie and all the things we’d said. I know I should have ask her cert before I made a date, before I feel in love with her, but now it was too late. When next met I told I’m a Prod and staunch and true, Rosie said I’m a Catholic and I’m just as staunch as you. Oh the words were harsh and bitter but suddenly in bliss centuries of hatred were forgotten, in one kiss.
I saved a bit a money as quickly as I could and asked we Rosie if she’d marry me and Bgod she said she would. But then the trouble really started, her folks were flaming mad and when I told mine about it they were twice as bad. Rosie Da said that from that day he’d hang his head in shame, and by a strange coincidence my auld lad said the same. My mother cried her eyes out and said I’d rue the day that I’d let a Catholic hussy steal my loyal hearts away. And Rosie’s mother said when she recovered from the blow, she rather meet the devil than a man from Sandy Row.
But in deference to Rosie we were married in her church, but my clergyman came as well he didn’t leave me in the lurch. The priest was awful kind and tried to make us not feel alone. You see none of our folks had come. After the wedding we moved far away from Sandy Row and even further from the Falls, back among the crowd we knew our lives would just be hell. But life out there for Rosie was lonely, I knew well and of course we had our wee religious as well. When Friday came around and Rosie served me fish, I looked at it and then at her and said that’s not my dish. I mind well what she told me though she never said it twice, to eat no meat on Friday is a poor wee sacrifice for one who died for us one Friday long ago. Anyways I ate the fish, and it wasn’t bad you know. Sunday morning would come around and I’d lay while Rosie got up for Mass. She turned to and said shift your lazy ass, you’ve got a church to go to and that’s where you should be so up you get this minute, you’ll be half the road with me. We left the house together and parted down the line, Rosie went off to her church and went off to mine. But all throughout the service, although we were apart, it seemed like I was worshiping with Rosie, in my heart.
The weeks and months went quickly by and then there comes the day when Rosie ups and tells me a child is on the way. And from that moment forward my life became a wondrous thing, like a lovely flower unfolding its petals to the spring. We wrote and told our parents cos they never came to call, and we thought this might help to bridge the gap, and so it did an all. First Rosie’s mother came and then mine, and I marveled at the power of a wee child, yet unborn. But it was awful disillusioning when I found why they’d come. Rosie mother came to say the child must be RC and my mother said it had to be a protestant like me. All the fuss before the wedding was surely meek and mild compared with all the rumpus kicked up about the child. The child will be a Catholic no the child will be a Prod, but when Rosie’s time came at last I had to bow my head to the awful wisdom of God. For when our son was born he was but dead. That night I sat by Rosie, and just before the dawn she left me to join our Angel son, and this Orange heart was broken within these four bare walls, Where the hell’s the Shankill and where the hell’s the Falls.
In all the years that’s past since then, years of loneliness and pain, I’d give my life and even more just to see her face again. But the waiting near over now and I’ll see her soon I know, the doctor told me yesterday I haven’t to go. But when I get up yonder and they ask me who I’m for, King William or the Pope, I’m going to take to chances, I’m going to tell them loud and clear, I’m just a loyal Protestant who a Papisher. But one way or another I think they’ll let me in, and Rosie will be there to meet me with our wee Angel son. Then the child will leads us as hand in hand we climb the golden steps of heaven into the house of God
God Bless and keep reading