I can remember a time in my youth when cold nights and walks were the norm and anticipation of visitations of the Jannies was prevalent. I remember inhaling the Christmas air of Riverhead and walking the streets till we joined our friends in Doyle’s Lane, fires flickering, voices carrying the seasons news drifting in the air, the feeling of the season keeping a smile on our faces. Those days in my memory were cold and clear, and we enjoyed them so much, the crunch of the snow and the smell of the smoky chimneys are still engrained in my mind with each visitation to the place of my youth.
We gathered regardless of age. It was a time to be together in our small town, the flickering lights of the fire dancing across our face as we decided the evening’s events. We all knew it was cold enough to go to the bog, to slide across the ice to celebrate the Christmas season and to be warmed by the fire on the hill. I remember Cyril Jordan, Ronnie Hickey, Danny White, Chris and Terry Miller and others sipping the forbidden brew that seemed to help in a difficult time for one of our friends. It is a time I will not forget, and would never wish to, it was an age of innocence an age of true friendship; for me a true meaning of the season of Christmas.
I can remember an evening we met some Jannies by Dick Doran’s house. They were just getting started, of course urging us to join them. But at the time we had plans made and wished all good night, watching their silhouette go smaller and smaller as they left us. We had an evening to spend at the bog.
For some reason, I do not think today’s youth visit our special winter place, and it is indeed a pity as it is a place in my mind I will always remember.
If the weather is cool enough, please visit Riverhead and the bog, have a skate, and if you listen closely, you still might hear our laughter and think of the good times we had.