Tawdy ~ Farewell

I simply can’t let this week go by without honouring the passing of a man, Tawdy Morrissey, who pretty much defies description.

Tawdy Morrissey (Photos: Munster Express)
Tawdy Morrissey
(Photos: Munster Express)

He was a free spirit, a colourful institution who sat from dawn ’til dusk at the side of the Tramore -Waterford Road. Tawdy will go down in local history as one of the great characters of this area. He was a sports fanatic who never failed to adorn his place with flags to highlight major sporting occasions.

Tawdy touched the hearts of people in all sorts of different ways. He carved his name on my heart on the sunny June evening in 2009 when we were bringing my mother’s remains home to Tramore from Waterford City.  Here’s an extract from my journal that I wrote shortly afterwards:

Nature saluted as we brought you home from the shivering mortuary to Tramore. The rushes waved gently as you passed; grazing horses raised their heads and stared down from the sun-baked hillocks.  Tawdy, The Man of the Road, who has his place near Katie Reilly’s pub, took off his cap and held it to his heart when he saw your laden hearse. The moon, your old friend, even came out early to flank you home with the tiring sun.

I never, ever forgot Tawdy’s lovely gesture and a few months later I stopped to tell him how much it had meant to me. He was extraordinarily kind and empathetic and we chatted for ages. From then, we came to have quite regular chats about sport, life, nature, how it was to live ‘rough.’  Tawdy’s insights always made me see what was fundamentally important in life and how much time is wasted worrying about ‘small stuff.’

I’m not a funeral person but I felt I had to say my goodbyes to Tawdy on Friday morning. All I can say is that the funeral service was arguably the most loving, beautiful and heartfelt that I have ever attended.

It was a huge relief to hear a call in the eulogy for everyone who cared about Tawdy to continue to honk their car horns when passing his place. It’s a spot I pass at least twice a day (and sometimes seven or eight) and the big wave from Tawdy was always such a highlight.

I drove by an hour or so ago and his seat was adorned with flowers, flags, mementos, letters, hurleys, sports books ….. Yes, I hooted the horn, felt a wrench of emptiness but all the while I could see Tawdy’s happy, weather-beaten, smiling face.

Tawdy, thanks for being you and for adding so much to my life. You’ll never, ever be forgotten by the thousands of people whose hearts you warmed.

Author: socialbridge

I am a sociologist and writer from Ireland. I have worked as a social researcher for 30 years and have had a lifelong passion for writing. My main research interests relate to health care and I love to write both non-fiction and poetry.

13 thoughts on “Tawdy ~ Farewell”

  1. That was a lovely tribute. It’s nice to see a person accepted and loved just the way they are. I’m sure stories will grow up about people seeing Tawdy, visitors who never knew him will describe him, and the locals will look knowingly at each other and tell a Tawdy story to the traveler. He has etched himself in the memory of the land there. Cheer, Tawdy. Wherever you go, may you have as many people love you as you do now.

    1. Many thanks, Sandy. Tawdy will definitely live long in the collective memory. I doubt if anyone, including Tawdy himself, knew how much he was loved by so many different people from all over.

  2. Lovely indeed! I swear, each town has it’s “Tawdy” (if they are lucky!)
    It’s funny… during yesterday’s bike ride (before the “event”, we were in Old Montreal and Mick stopped suddenly because he recognised an “old rubby friend” that he used to see regularly when he worked in town. He gave the guy a big hug and a hello and you could just see the joy in the man’s eyes at, not only being recognised, but being welcomed. I was so touched. I just knew I had a good man with me but this was more than proof. This is the type of man that most people walk past and lift their nose at in repugnance.

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