In a Word: Suit

‘It was probably the most interviewed suit in Ireland’

 

Don’t you just hate those ‘relative’ puzzles. As in “If Teresa’s daughter is my daughter’s mother, what am I to Teresa? (A) Grandmother (B) Mother (C) Daughter (D) Granddaughter (E) I am Teresa. Answer below*.” (Don’t look!).

Here’s another. My brother Seán and his wife Ann have six children and 20 grandchildren but celebrate their wedding for just the 11th time today? Explain.

No, it was not a case of have children first, marry at leisure, where they were concerned. Got it? No? Look at the calendar. That’s right. It’s February 29th. Leap Day. Comes around every four years. As you know.

Yes, they married on February 29th, 1976, the first sibling wedding in our house. Four years and four children (yeah!) later they went to Philadelphia where two more arrived and they have been since.

As the best man (including the groom!) I remember it for many reasons but particularly for the only three-piece suit I have ever had. It was brown and striped and conveyed a sense of solidity that was entirely false.

However, it was highly successful in securing jobs for myself and three of my friends over subsequent years. It was probably the most interviewed suit in Ireland and with a strikingly impressive track record.

Its latter years were probably among its happiest as it made one elderly man at home in Ballaghaderreen very proud as he swanned stylishly from pub to pub around the town wearing it after my mother gave it to him when I began to grow out rather than up.

It was he who famously (at home) was once invited, during one torrid debate on the likely future of those present, to give his opinion on whether heaven or hell was preferable as a final destination.

He provided the sobering observation (though he wasn’t): “I don’t mind. I have friends in both places.” Since when he has long since taken up residence in either place where, no doubt, he is entertaining his hosts with as much flair as he did on this Earth.

The suit, however, did not accompany him. Wherever it may be now, and in what state, it certainly has stories to tell. Happy anniversary Seán and Ann.

*The answer to that puzzle above is (C).

Suit, from Middle English sute for ‘set of matching garments’. Old French suite.

inaword@irishtimes.com

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