The Cú Faoil Named “Woad”

A bit of a troubled teenager… No, I was a troubled teenager. But not troubled in a way that “They” felt needed addressing. So I spend many of my nights out and about. I wasn’t anti social, I would go do things like sneak into the Penrose Stadium and watch the rodeos and such. When I was 17 or so, on St. Patrick’s Day there was a big festival in the Penrose Stadium. Of course I had to go. Did my usual and went around back, jumped fence, through the stables and out onto the grounds. Security wasn’t big back then.

There was food, music, stands, whiskey, beer, more food, more music, and a big stage where people danced. I know now it’s called a Ceili. All the different styles, even set dances that were almost identical to the American country square dancing. This was late in the day, I had not eaten or drank anything. I was a poor disgruntled teenager, what do you expect? I was tired but fascinated with all that was around me.

So there I am, standing next to the stage, and this black wavy haired Irish guy, with sapphire blue eyes grabs a hold of me and says; “Your not Irish, but I’ll dance with yah anyway!” He pulls me up on stage and we dance, and danced, and danced some more. At the end I was so exhausted that I just slumped on a chair, or was it bench… not sure it might have been a half wall.  Well he, and at the time I assumed was his parents (they were) came up to me and said that they would take me home. I didn’t want to go home. Not a good place. They manage to coax me into their car. ( I know it doesn’t sound good ) I wouldn’t tell them where I lived and told them to just drop me off by Palmer Park. They were having nothing of it. So they took me to their place instead. Probably because I fell asleep in there car.

I half remember the Mom making a bed on the couch and her giving me pillows. I remember them all saying goodnight, and a ginormous blue shadow sitting at attention quietly by the door . It was comforting. I fell asleep.

In the morning I half woke to the smell of bacon and a giant wet nose touching mine. It didn’t move. Still as a cold Winter’s night. I couldn’t even feel the wind in it’s breath. Behind the nose was a pair of bushy eyebrows, one cocked in an inquisitive manor. Off in the distance I hear the Mom; “Nicky! Go wake up your girlfriend!” Then Nick yelled out “WOOOAAD!”.  The body behind the nose doubled, tripled in size! And with one enormous HUUUUFFFFF!, the nose’s  beard pierced my face like a billion paper cuts. With a resounding “AHHH!” I !jump to my feet.

“She’s up!” I hear Nicky exclaim.

“Come to the kitchen and have your breakfast!” the Mother commanded.

I didn’t need to look down. This beautiful and mystical creature, with just a tip up of his chin could nearly meet me eye to eye. He must have been 7ft nose to tail and covered thick in a wiry steely blue coat.  He didn’t pant, or wag his tail. Thank Goodness for that! He’d knock the place down better than a wrecking ball if he did. He was regal and ancient like a Celtic Sage. And for some strange reason, smelled like tarragon. With a light grunt, he turned around and headed into the kitchen. I followed.

On the table there was a plate with a fried egg, what I now know as a “rasher” (bacon) some white and black chunks (black & white pudding), mushrooms, tomato, toast, a bow of creamy oatmeal, and … baked beans? … What the? Apparently this is what the Irish call a “Fry Up” or just a “Fry” … As soon as I sat down, over my left shoulder, like the devil whispering in my ear, Woad rested his head.

“Woad…” the Father said calmly. Woad lifted his head, huffed a defeated grumpy huff and went outside, where he chomp on some greens. Ah! A tarragon bush. That explains it.

“What … uh … what kind of dog is … uh … that… ‘er … him?” I asked.

“A proper Irish Wolfhound.” The Father said looking over the morning paper he was reading.

Nick comes in with wet hair and sits at the plate next to me. “I’m Nicky.””

“I know” I replied

“So who are you?”

We all start laughing hysterically. What a surreal situation! Woad comes barging in tail straight, head up high! Without curling his jowls or showing his teeth he growls. Not a growl that you could hear, but a growl you felt deep down in the pit of your stomach. A growl that would shake the heavens back down to earth. We all froze and held our breath at the impending consequence of our laughter. Ages went by before Woad huffed and went back outside.

“You should hear him when he’s angry.” Said Nicky. We all giggled quietly this time.

Obviously Nicky and I became very close and Woad was always there to make sure we behaved. Strange sort of hound. He never care to sit up on the bed or couch. He would cock and eyebrow and  huff at you when you invited him onto the couch as if to say that a proper hound with a shred of dignity would never disgrace itself by laying on a sofa! A proper hound would lay in a bed of thorns at the foot of the bed always at attention! … Or maybe he just knew he wouldn’t fit… I never heard him bark, and he never panted, even after a run. Maybe because his beard was long and covered his gaping mouth? Oh my, to see him run . ..*sigh*… A well orchestrated symphony of grace and power! It was MESMERIZING!

This was a long time ago, and I’m certain that Woad is in BEAUTIFUL place know keeping everyone in check and watching over you while you slept.

The photo below is not Woad. It’s a Google search stock photo. I posted it just to give you a visual hint to the likes of a Cú Faoil Named “Woad”

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