Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Harvest of Memories Book Launch


“The book launch is the 14th December” says Dick and then with a heavy intake of breath “The books are arrivin’ on the 13th……” There was a lot of heavy breathin’ in the Jeffers household that week – and we’re not talking passion here! I’d say Dick was like an expectant father pacing the floor “What if something goes wrong?” “What if the books don’t arrive?” “Should I cancel the launch?” “What if I have ordered too many books?” Trudy and Dick were fifty years married last year and I’d say the lead-up to the book launch was the most stressful time ever for both of them.

Well, the books did arrived on time, the day before. Thursday was a ‘bitch of a day’; howling winds, flash floods – a horrible mucky, dirty winter’s day. “What if no-one turns up?” Aieee, the worry of it all. Well, rain and gale winds were no deterrent to good friends and neighbours and Dick had a full house for the launch.

Trudy along with Viv, granddaughter Sarah and pal, Mary Ellen, sons Johnny and Michael were there dishing out tasty nibbles and wine. There was a great atmosphere of goodwill and pride for our Dick. No long faces, no moaners, everyone swept along in a wave of high spirits. And why not, at 80, Dick had produced his first book. His neighbours and friends from the farming community turned out in force; The Clare family representing the Kilcullen Bridge – Frances, Noel and Stephan; The ‘Buglers’ – Michael, Angie and Noel, Matt and Rose were all there.

There was councillors Billy Hillis and Rainsford Hendy; Kilcullen thespian and medical officinado, Bernard Berney and journalist Brian Byrne of Kilcullen Bridge website diary; photographers from the Leinster Leader and Kildare Post and Dick was doing an interview with Noel Shannon of KFM the following day. Had he too many books – no, they were sold out on the night and now poor Dick, who had promised copies to Barker and Jones and local outlets was worrying: “God, have I enough books now to go round…”

That’s the pain of success! Noel Clare opened the proceedings, welcoming Dick’s family, friends and members of the press. As editor of the Kilcullen Bridge, Noel was delighted to be invited to the launch and proud to know an author. In particular, Noel paid tribute to Pastor Dunlop who was recovering from a bout of bad health and unable to attend; Robert Dunlop was mentor to Dick, always pressing him to get his work published – only last year Robert’s tribute to Dick in the Bridge and Bugle again encouraged Dick to get his book printed.

Next I spoke about our ‘acidic political correspondent’; having known Dick only for the past few years, I feel I know him forever what with his lively personality and outspoken opinion. I referred to his outspoken opinion at one point and said that he would ‘never truly offend anyone’ and Readers, the audience burst into laughter……… Dick is not known for his diplomacy! I slagged Dick about being a ‘cute’ so&so - having invited Noel from the Bridge,, myself from the Bugle, the Leader and the Post, making sure he had all bases covered!There was a large Fine Gael presence but then he gets a Fianna Fail woman to launch the book…. All we were short of was Jack Wall to do the gift wrapping……… As for the pressure Trudy was under, waiting on the impending arrival, well, this woman had her Christian name changed by Dick who claims he fell madly in love with her at first sight, I reckon after 50 years with him, she is prepared for anything.

Dick himself then took to the podium; he acknowledged the help of Trudy and the family and three people in particular for always encouraging and pushing him to finally have his works printed – his brother, Dereck in California; Michael Ward of the Ballymore Bugle and Pastor Robert Dunlop, his dear friend. Special mention was given to Ian Scott, who did the excellent illustrations for the book, Trafford Publishers for getting the delivery on time, albeit by a hair’s breath and all who supported him on the night.

He read an excerpts from the book; on a character known as gunner ryan and the other, a very special letter newbridge union of churches

Rose B O Donoghue

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