Sean was not selfish on his tin whistle, and not shy on his pint. His poems were multiple and various, published in local newspapers, and often after the application of some censorship.
When I first met him at one of our historical society meetings, he introduced himself as a heretic, who never married but had loved. His view of life was simple, using only one principle: Don't do unto others what you don't want others to do unto you. Indeed, the old Golden Rule from the likes of Confucius and Plato.
One year, a group from our society went to Paris. There, Sean did not miss any opportunity to play the tin whistle, always secured in his pocket: in our hotel, at the top of the Eiffel Tower and in the Montmartre Irish pub.
He wanted to visit Balzac's house, now a museum. Duly provided with written instructions in French (just in case), he boarded a taxi and reached his destination safely. To celebrate the occasion, he subsequently went to a nearby bistrot for his pint. Still full of his thoughts, he suddenly found himself at a loss, and did not know how to proceed towards the next step. Passing by a police station, he entered and used the French-for-emergencies he remembered: Je m'appelle Sean; j'habite en Irlande. He then pulled out his French note. The policiers called a taxi for him, direction the Louvre, his next destination. He was back on track.
During the 4-day journey, we all wrote our impressions in a journal-cum-scrapbook. Here are some excerpts from Sean's input: Versailles was a little bit extravagant, just a little bit, a tinsy winsy bit. Quoting Balzac: This poor lad thinks he is an angel, exiled from Heaven. Who am I to undeceive him?. He added for himself: We are all angels, exiled from Heaven. It's just that Heaven hasn't really touched-down yet.
He was happy to come back home, to his farm. The farm where he was born and where he had been raising sheep all his life. Self-sufficient and self-educated in everything, from music to writing to painting, he also took vet skills in his stride. He was not demanding and lived on little.
He died at the age of 63. Not from cancer or heart attack, not in a car accident. His killer took his time; years in fact. The farm was damp and insalubrious. One day Sean felt weak and drove his veteran car to the hospital. His agony was short; as short as the insidious disease had been there long. Dying of tuberculosis is not fashionable any more. Even cattle deserve good treatment nowadays.
Sean, the dreamer, the eccentric, you have now been through your own touch-down. Hopefully, the very one you were seeking.