Harry is a charming Irishman I often meet on my walks through the neighbourhood. I've come across him as close to home as five doors down, and as far away as the undefined countryside that lies between this town and the next. He's an older fellow (well into his 80s, he says) who has lived here since 1970. He walks his two Scotties one at a time, both of whom wait very patiently while he chats with other walkers he happens upon.
In our brief encounters, we've covered religion, politics (the Troubles 'back home'), sport, plumbing (civic, not personal), urban planning, engineers, history, and sundry other topics. Today it was the general ineptitude of engineers and politicians, specifically those responsible for the infrastructure improvements being undertaken a few streets from my home. He said to me "Now, being a woman, I don't suppose you've been after to diggin' ditches for the purposes of laying pipe and the like?"
To which I replied in all honesty "No, sir, you're quite right about that." And he illustrated to me how it ought to be done -- which was, he said, plain to anyone of intelligence -- and conversely how it was being done -- with a sad shake of his well-muffled head.
Last summer, while walking his Scotties, he was bitten by another dog who was let of its leash. He was sent from one level of government to another: from one municipality to another, to the region, and ultimately told that if he wanted to pursue the case, he had to take it up with the province. In speaking to one official along the way, he was told that he really should have addressed the issue within 30 days of the occurrence. Poor man! He is elderly and alone, and he struggled to get to physio, let alone drive all over creation to track down the right person who would help him with his case. I was so angry on his behalf, but he was able to just shake his head at the foolishness he'd endured.
The things he had to say about engineers and politicians, and the way he had of shaking his head in disbelief at their nonsense brought Pop so strongly to mind. I wanted to wrap Henry in my arms and bring him home for tea.