BY ÉADAOIN KINSELLA O’NEILL
Iwas only a year and a half old but away in a world of my own. Young, but already so independent. I loved being outside because out there, I could do anything. Helping my Dad in the garden was my favourite thing to do. Dad planted peas, spuds, carrots and onions. I always helped him because I was afraid that if I didn’t, I wouldn’t get any peas. And peas! Ahhh peas were my absolute favourite. I just love peas. I’m always robbing them, whenever I get the chance.
How can I describe why I love them so much and hoover them up like a Dyson?
Well, first of all the amazing taste. Fresh, juicy peas—there’s nothing on earth like them. The smallest ones are the sweetest. My Grandad Seán calls the big ones cannon balls!
This day anyway, I was outside playing in the garden. I strolled over to where the peas were growing, sat down and started to pick some. You have to hold the stem tightly and pull the pod right off. Or twist it, to get it off completely. You pinch the bottom of the pod to get it open. If you don’t do that, it’s hard to get the peas out. But if you pinch it and rip it open, the pod comes apart and you can just pop the peas straight into your mouth. They’re way nicer, way juicier than any of the ones you buy. Little balls of juiciness, so tasty.
So there I was this day, sitting and robbing peas. I’d say I was after eating nearly the whole garden! But what I didn’t know was, that back at the house, the big hunt for me had begun.
Everyone was out looking for me: my two big brothers, my Mam and Dad. They were frantic. Searching the whole house inside and out, top to bottom. My two brothers were sent off to search along the road, because I loved to go walking there with my Mam.
My parents tore outside and began searching our back garden. There was the big garage down the back and another shed up the top for all the shovels and tools. Perhaps they thought something could’ve fallen on me in there?
Nothing showed up. Still absolutely no sign. Next, my Mam would’ve started ringing people. My Uncle Kieran up the road, because I used to just love going off up to the farm or John, Betty and Ernie Evans, our neighbours, further up along the road. None of them had seen me.
At this stage, my parents were probably about to puke! I can’t imagine how dreadful those hours were for them.
I’ve a feeling that it was my brothers, J.J. and Achille, who thought of the pea plants. They know me well! J.J. and Achille ran up to the garden to check and when they saw me, they called Mam and Dad. They were delighted and relieved but most of all they laughed: ‘Should’ve known!’ Being so young, I didn’t understand the fuss; I was content hoovering up the peas, yum.