October in Greenisland

15th October, 2001

It was a cold Monday evening in Greenisland, after the sun had gone down, huge flocks of birds flew in their impressive and elaborate formations on their way south to escape the forthcoming cold.

Outside the Presbyterian Church and the Manse a couple of trick-or-treaters could faintly hear the strains of “Happy Birthday” being sung; it was ended prematurely when Woody and Buzz Lightyear rang the bell. The minister’s wife, after patiently waiting for the boys to stop singing “Christmas is coming and the Goose is gettin’ fat”, remarked that it was a bit early for all this. They said they were going to be on holiday for Halloween so thought they’d go out early. She gave them each a Club biscuit and they went off up the Upper Road. They couldn’t decide among themselves which one of the minister’s kids was actually having a birthday now.

As they passed the golf club, some of the young men were in the bar, to watch Spurs play Derby. Before the game started, the topic got to what they were all going to do when they finished Upper 6th. Most were sticking around to go to Queen’s or Jordanstown, but for one, the time seemed to be right to announce he was going to Edinburgh. Or at least he applied to. The others teased him a bit, especially when he said that he wanted the “real uni experience”. They joked that he’d meet some pretty medical student and they’d get married the summer after graduation and they’d never see him again. He said that that wouldn’t be such a bad thing and wouldn’t tell that it was kinda what he was hoping for anyway. The others went outside for a smoke and saw some torches up at the Knockagh.

A couple of the other young guys from Farm Lodge had set up a telescope as it was a nice night for some stargazing. After a short while, though, Orion and Gemini lost their magic, especially when some clouds spoiled it for them, so they decided to have a bit of fun and gawp at the villagers through the telescope. While looking for his house at Farm Lodge, he spotted an attractive young woman getting out of her car in the Garage and was slightly disappointed when her husband got out the other side.

When they’d paid for their petrol and bought some bread and Twixes for lunch, they left the garage and went back to their house on the Upper Road. They left the biscuits on the kitchen, shared a kiss, and went into the lounge to watch TV for the night. The doorbell rang and Woody or Buzz sang their song again, at a lower pitch than before; they were obviously tired. The husband smiled and sent them off with a couple of Twixes, looking forward to when he’d get to go trick-or-treating with his own kids. He told his wife, who smiled with her hand on her belly. Just a few months to wait, she said, as the kids walked out the driveway.

After this, the trick-or-treaters guessed their mum would be expecting them back, so headed back down the Station Road to their house on School Lane, past the Primary School.

As they walked down the hill, the lights were going out as the parents put their kids to bed and the older folks called it a night too. It was a Monday, so nobody was going to stay up late. Come 11:30, the whole village was asleep.

But before bed, the village’s faithful knelt down and prayed that one day it would wake up.

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