Reilly settled down to watch this years St Patricks Day Parade from the salubrious surrounds of Byrnes Pub in Ennistymon, Co Clare.
He positioned himself strategically on a high stool in the bay window that overlooks from a height the entire Main Street. In an hour or so he would have an unobstructed view of the parade as it snaked its way around and through the pristinely picturesque town of Ennistymon.
To his right he had a direct line with Alfie, the affable barman, who at the slightest gesture from Reilly, would deploy a pint of Arthur’s finest.
And straight in front of him he got to observe the talent as it entered the cosy pub from the torrential rain that was bucketing down from on high.
As he settled down to read Gerry Thornleys assessment of Irelands chances of winning the Six Nations, he reflected that if Carlsberg made pub locations for Paddy’s Day Parades, this was up there.
As befits the arrival of a Saint of worldly renown the elements played their part in the atmosphere. There was a shower, followed by heavy rain, followed by a deluge.
Already crowds had begun to assemble on either side of the street. Reilly marvelled at their enthusiasm, bonhomie and colour. There was no way a sup of rain was ever going to restrain their excitement.
At 3pm on the button a cacophony of sounds signalled the start of the Parade.
They don’t do warm-up acts in Ennistymon.
From out of the mist and rain emerged the main man himself, St Patrick. He looked positively Saintly astride a carriage drawn by an equally Saintly looking white donkey. For a brief moment you could hear a pin drop such was the reverence afforded the patron Saint of our land.
‘The true sign of a Saint,’ remarked an old lady to Reillys right.
St Patrick was followed by the good and great of Ennistymon and West Clare.
In alphabetical order there were acrobats, bands, ceilí dancers, hurlers, motor-bikers – tractors – loads of tractors – Massey Fergusons, John Deeres and of course, the ubiquitous Red Zetors.
And then there was Wifey. Looking resplendent as a ravishing Graineuaile, she chaperoned her little high-infants beneath a cloak of many colours that represented the many and myriad aspects of our broad and diverse culture.
And just as quickly as the Parade finished, so also did the rain. A turquoise blue sky appeared out of nowhere from the west.
‘Another true sign of a Saint,’ said the elderly lady to Reilly.
On his return to the car out the Lahinch road Reilly came upon a large group of people swilling beer and bottles of ‘Buckkie.’
No different to any other parade in the world.
Reilly did the math. It struck him that life is pretty much like a parade.
1% lead it.
4% are in it.
5% watch it.
90% don’t even know there’s a parade on.
• Whether you realise it or not, you are in a parade called life. You may, at various times, be leading it; participating in it; watching it; or unaware that there is a parade on.
‘If you’re not in the parade, you watch the parade. That’s life.’
1. Where are you positioned in the parade called life? Leader? Participant? Observer? Uninvolved.