Great Grandfather Ned Connolly


Born in County Galway, Ireland in 1881, Ned brought his young family to America in search of a better life. He worked hard for the rest of his years as a Stevedore. There's a classic word. He was a longshoreman, loading and unloading freight from ships on Portland's busy waterfront. In later years he ran the big crane, but there was always plenty of hard labor involved. Those men didn't need memberships at the local gym to stay fit.

Dad told me exactly one story about his grandfather Ned.

My father was still a boy, just big enough to wheel a car, but not of legal driving age by any means. Ned would let him putt around the neighborhood, and one day Dad chauffeured his Grampa and an Uncle to a local watering hole. Waiting patiently in the car while the men sought refreshment, Dad was startled by two young men.

They had emerged from the same saloon, animated and tipsy. They were seeking a ride to a similar establishment further intown. My father was their pigeon. They insisted.

Dad was a smart boy. He wanted no part of their ongoing adventure. He explained that he was waiting for his grandfather, and he wasn't moving until he returned. The hoodlums continued to harass the lad, he became quite uncomfortable.

As if on cue, Grampa and the Uncle came on the scene. Ned told the young men to beat it. Screw. The whippersnappers continued, they told the 'old man' to 'calm down' and pressed for a free ride.

As I noted, Dad was pretty sharp, he knew exactly where all of this was headed. He popped his door open, but his Uncle's hand held it shut. "Where are you going, Sonny?"

Dad thought it was pretty obvious, and he was all nerved up.

"I'm going to help Grampa!"

Uncle smiled calmy and reassured him.

"Stay in the car, Sonny, your Grampa doesn't need any help."

That was truth. Ned sent both young men scurrying, wishing they hadn't crossed his path. A quick lesson in respect, if you will.

That line has always stuck with me. Lifetime goals. I hope to one day be exactly that kind of a Grampa.

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