By Willie Maxwell (A CHINKWELL WRITER)
Tommy Ryan was known as a shrewd farmer and a sound man, in the parish. He had to be, he lost his father when he was fourteen and it fell to him and his mother to make a living on their modest farm. Early on Tommy took to growing maincrop Kerr Pinks Potatoes to supplement farm income. Smart lad that he was, instead of selling his crop to the greedy wholesalers or grasping supermarkets Tommy attended the open-air market in the county town and sold four stone hags direct to the townies. Tommy liked the market banter, and he liked the cash, and to top matters off he did not trouble the revenue with any tax either but as they say ”Sin sceal eile” One early November Tommy stepped into the yard to check his already loaded and canvass covered car trailer containing twenty bags. He rechecked the count and was in turn astounded and then angry to discover that he now had only eighteen bags. He cursed and fretted but decided to keep his own counsel and stepped into the barn and filled two replacements.This was one mistake he was going to remain stum about.The market was disappointing that day, too close to Christmas and the townies had other exotics on their minds, other than Kerr Pinks.Tommy’s humour did not improve when he had to return home having swapped three unsold bags for cheap Christmas tat from other stallholders.The following Saint Patricks day there was a huge funeral in the church. Tommy was standing respectfully outside with his neighbours when a young layabout son of a well to do farmer across the valley sidled up to him. “Tell me said the newcomer did you ever find the fella who stole your two bags of spuds last November? “I never did until just now. but I know now where to go to get the best calves at the very best price this spring” Tommy replied.The layabout realising the enormity of his mistake swallowed air, while his neighbours looked on baffled.