Fair Reflections

The word ‘fair’ has been bouncing around in my head rather a lot lately, and more than ever this morning as I took the Puppy Stan around the block, which passes my late parent’s house.

I met a neighbour who was bemoaning the fact that the sun has gone ahide. For now, I’d be describing the day as fair.

Sunflower in the School Yard round our Block.
Sunflower in the School Yard

But, round the corner, by the school, I passed a woman pushing a very small boy in a buggy. Or, to be more precise, they had stopped and turned right round to watch a huge yellow machine, with all sorts of wide attachments, making its way slowly along the road. The little boy’s blue eyes were brighter than bright and his curly fair hair was billowing in the breeze.

Passing my parent’s house, I couldn’t but think of the way fair was always on Dad’s Richter Scale of how he was. You’d always have to look into his eyes to know if he was codding or not and he generally was!

Rotten –Fair – Good – Never Better

And what of that saying: Fair Sailing which was always the parting blessing of the distinguished Irish broadcaster, Tom MacSweeney on his maritime radio programme on RTE Radio 1, Seascapes. 

Fair is never far away from discussions of Life, Love and the Meaning of Happiness.’ How often do we hear: ‘It’s not fair …’ when someone dies young or when random trouble befalls people? I must say I don’t think that life owes us anything so this concept of fairness or unfairness tends to bug me a bit.

However, I have a very strong sense that that we should do all in our power to see that there is a fair distribution of wealth. I think this goes right back to my mother’s teachings around dividing treats, like cakes. She would ask one of us kids to divide the cake in five ~ one bit for each member of the family ~ and when she saw that one slice was bigger than the rest, she would always insist that that piece be given to someone other than the cutter! A lesson never, ever forgotten!

Fairs were very much a part of farming life back in the day and I associate them with haggling and farmers sealing deals with a spit and a handshake as well as long journeys home on foot with a few cows, sheep or even a horse or two in tow.

School reports are a place where Fair always rhymed with despair and basically meant ‘Jean is completely and utterly hopeless at sewing/music/dancing ….  but I think even she knows that. Pity but that’s the way it is.’

Fair is never a great sign either when it’s used at Nurse’s Stations in response to  enquiries about the well being of  loved ones. There have been times when I’ve hated the word with a passion and the dark look that goes with it.

But one can’t hate the word fair for long, especially if you live in Ireland.

That’s a fair nice dog you’ve got there.