Aug 222012

It was on the train from London to Inverness that I first started humming the famous ballad Danny Boy.

Mm m m mmmm, m mmmm, m mmmm m mm-m-mmmmm

The hum became a strum by the time I was driving from Inverness to Hopeman, the small fishing village where I lived for a year in 1975, which I had not visited since.

Driving along the main highway, carving through the wide gold fields of late summer, I began to raise my voice with the standard . . . Oh Danny Boy, the pipes the pipes are callin’ . . .

I ken, I ken, Danny Boy is widely credited with being an Irish song – others say otherwise, that it is Scottish and the confusion results from it being sung to an Irish tune.

What I do know is that it was written by an Englishman, and driving north for a homecoming that had been brewing for 37 years . . . from glen to glen and down the mountainside it was a Scottish song for me.

Hopeman. I was 16. 1975 was a year of intense friendship and living laughter.

The summer’s gone . . .

As I found my old friends, at first one by one and then a tidal flow, there was a name they all spoke first: Danny Main, a missing son from a village that hugs its sons and daughters close.

With urgency in their voice and tears in their eyes they would say in turn:

Do ye mind Danny Main . . .

Danny’s gone from us . . .

Danny’s nae longer here . . .

Oh Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling . . .

Danny Main was older than the rest of us running wild on the streets of the village.

He must’ve been 18 at the time, tall and dark haired and beautiful, a fisherman’s son born for the sea.

From glen to glen and down the mountainside . . .

We all loved Danny.

He was kind.

He had patient, smiling eyes.

He had time for a word with all of us.

Come ye back when summer’s in the meadow . . .

Aye, I mind Danny Main.

And 10 years after his passing from the village, Danny is here still.

In sunshine and in shadow . . .

He is here on the eternal currents: wind and sea, hearts and minds, friends and family.

Oh Danny boy, oh Danny boy we love you so.

Danny Main, Hopeman

 August 22, 2012  Tagged with: , , ,  5 Responses »