“You write a piece about scattering the ashes,” Patricia said. “You had so much history here with Dad and playing in the Irish Championships.”
The “here” she was referring to was Rosses Point where our Dad Jimmy Madill grew up, learning his golf, whiling away endless sunny summers with his childhood friend John Monk. As a boy he was unaware of the quality of the links, a stone’s throw from the wild Atlantic waters, that was his playground. Despite leaving the area at the age of 14 his lifelong love for the Point endured and strengthened. Whenever we came back from global travels with tales of faraway, magical places he would listen with great interest, but the phrase that followed was always the same – “not a patch on Rosses Point, though.”
He would tell us tales of the days of no Sunday golf and long walks out to the far end of the course to chip and putt, unseen; of the time he ribbed a chip to the putting green through the back window of the Sligo bus; of the time, aged 7, he was so engrossed in watching John Burke in an exhibition match that he wandered right onto the middle of the 4th green with the players. He learned to play bridge in the ladies’ lounge on the (according to him) very rare occasion that it was too wet and windy to play golf.
It was special to both of us to play at Rosses Point in Irish Championships. Dad was my long suffering caddy on more than one occasion and did duty collecting my practice balls, claiming he was getting double the exercise of any of the other caddies – not because of the number of balls hit, rather their dispersion. So, what more natural conclusion to a life well lived than to take a part of him back to his beloved Rosses Point? He, after all, carried a part of Rosses Point with him, lodged deep in his soul, his entire life.
We took him to his favourite spot on the course, and with Ben Bulben in the background, the sun high in the sky and a frisky breeze blowing we scattered some of his ashes. It was an emotional moment and I felt we had brought him home.
Sitting in the clubhouse afterwards Patricia remarked on the strengthening wind and after a pause said, “By now Dad’s probably in Manhattan!” We erupted into gales of laughter, feeling completely at peace. She turned to me again and said, “But, I’m sure he’ll be back shortly!”