|Viking Danny McDonough! (Photos: Carol Martin)|
Even if you hadn’t seen him in a while, his name would come up in chat and some brilliantly amusing tale about Danny would follow. Then he had us laughing all over again without even being there.
It might have been from a night at the old Morley McGovern’s pub in Roselle Park or at a Nugent’s gathering on a Sunday afternoon at the Knights of Columbus in Elizabeth or up the Catskills with the usual suspects for a weekend getaway from Jersey.
He was our “Irish Viking” with the hat to prove it. Whether he wore the horned-helmet or not he always had us smiling and laughing.
That laughter slammed to a stop for a hard moment last Monday morning when we learned Danny had died far too young.
Hundreds packed Sullivan’s Funeral Home in Roselle Saturday morning to bid him farewell.
All the Nugents were there, as well as the mayor of Elizabeth.
Matty Glackin was kilted up with his pipes to play Danny a few parting tunes.
At the funeral service and the repast there were plenty of Danny stories having those in earshot more than chuckling.
Thankfully, he will keep us laughing without being here as we keep his memory alive.
Danny loved all things Irish and seeing his friends enjoy.
So, I like to think that he would have approved of Honey Badger and I meeting up at The Blackthorn for lunch to watch Dublin play Cork in Gaelic football the afternoon of his funeral.
There we ran into the retired cop and piper Harry Leonard and his mustache. He called a toast in Danny’s honor. We each raised and then downed a small parting glass to him. He would have liked that, too.
It was the first time I recall being able to watch GAA in February here in America. But there it was on the flat screens over the bar. We caught the end of the well-deserved Kildare victory over Donegal.
My grandfather from Castletownbere would not have been pleased with me rooting for Dublin but the heart was with my old city.
Honey Badger was shouting for the rebels for some reason to do with their jerseys. Or maybe it was their socks.
She didn’t hold it against me when the Dubs prevailed. Saturday night was a quiet one in the Honey Badger household.
Early on the snowy Sunday morning after I was bright-eyed and walking through The Blackthorn doors sporting my green and red Mayo jersey to watch the lads take on Kerry.
There I found Rattigan between the chairs upside down on the bar. The chairs were that way, not Rattigan.
Over coffee we enjoyed a Mayo victory, sweet over Kerry any month of the year.
It was only the two of us besides Gillespie, the Ballina owner and Istvan the barman.
Perhaps folks were resting up for the big American football game.
Since no New Jersey team was in the Super Bowl I kept my Mayo jersey on the rest of the day as Honey Badger and I went down the veterans center to watch the big game.
All day, I swear I heard Danny laughing at my shirt.