, Derry, New Hampshire


April 25, 2013

Column: Ulsterman finds it’s a long way to Londonderry, too


Along the route there were few bridges. Streams had to be crossed by fording through water as high as the hubs on his wheels of his cart. Every hour or so, the road would cross through a bog. Too frequently, his wagon’s wheels would get mired in the mud and it would take all the strength his horse could muster to yank the cart free from the suction of the muck. Sometimes the exasperated Irishman would have to jump down from his seat and help push the cart out of the mud. Soon his clothes were caked with mud.

By now the man from Ireland was far from being a happy traveler. He was tired, dirty and hungry; his body was a mass of welts caused my black flies, no-see-ems and mosquitoes. And he was still miles from Londonderry.

On the second day, as he crossed through Salem, his cart had become mired in yet another mud hole. That was the last straw. He considered himself a man of patience but he had finally reached his breaking point. The frustrated and red-faced Ulsterman let loose a series of protracted curses and profanities. The air nearly turned blue as he loudly screamed every swear, expletive and vulgarity that he knew. It is likely that even a hardened sailor would have blushed at hearing the Irishman’s cussing. This string of profanities went on for nearly a quarter of an hour and must have been carried for miles in the stillness of the Salem air.

Finally, the Ulsterman had used up all of his strength and became quiet. It was then that he noticed he was not alone. Standing by the side of the road was a man with a dour look on his face. The unsmiling stranger was dressed in the black clothes that told the world that he was a clergyman of the Presbyterian persuasion. And by the look on his face, this man of the cloth was not at all happy with the Irishman’s protracted bout of cussing.

Text Only | Photo Reprints

Latest News