Non-Profit Corporation

The Marina Dock Newsletter DECEMBER 2003

Dear Marina Dock members and patrons alike,

Last month, a number of supporters rallied to our cause. Unfortunately, it seems to be the same few who repeatedly come forward and donate. We, the Marina Dock, are forever grateful to those who contribute. I have said it before and I will say it again, without those generous donors we would be in dire straits. We must have over a thousand people on our mailing list. We do occasionally get a donation from someone who is not a regular contributor, so I believe in keeping people on the list. My sense is there are a number of people over the last few months that were on the brink of writing a check only to be distracted by a CNN news flash or a call from an Aunt in Topeka Kansas. This month I know you will follow through, and feel the better for doing so. Also this month we are enclosing a financial statement of your contributions to date for this year (2003). If you have any questions please contact us. Again, you followed through in our hour of need, thank you.

Survival mystery

I honestly don't know how we survived over the last two years. The hand of God I suppose. There were times when I absolutely had to meet a deadline or tax payment, where I totally despaired of ever coming up with the money, and lo and behold at the eleventh hour there would be a check. If even momentarily I begin to question or waiver in my belief in a higher power, usually this lack of faith centers on the Marina Dock and it's survival. Something or someone intervenes to remind me that this is out of my hands. I am not in charge, and for that we should all be grateful.

Insomnia, AMC, November 22nd 1963

Lately, I have taken to staying up all night. It's probably a lot to do with the fact that for fifteen years I have closed the Dry Dock /Marina Dock and come home and spaced out watching television as a way of chilling or unwinding. In any event, over the last month or so, I have seen Richard Boone get shot at least four times in four different movies, not to mention all the times he was the shooter in "Have Gun Will Travel" when I was a big western fan in the sixties. I had an older cousin at that time that had a crush on him. She used to get all dressed up to watch him every week as "Paladin." She was convinced that he could see her and she wanted to look her best. Yes, this is a true story. People acted really weird when the Irish psyche first encountered the "Idiots Lantern", as our principal called television. There were a couple of old farmers who lived down the road from us, and as a kid I used to go to their house in the evenings to watch "Gunsmoke", "Wagon Train", "Cheyenne", "Bat Masterson", and "Rawhide". One night, we were all sitting around the TV when a news flash came on about a big fire in a Dublin warehouse. Pictures of the flames were shown engulfing an entire block. One of the old farmers jumped up, grabbed a huge bucket of water and threw it on the TV. He said it needed to be done "before it set the whole house afire." At the time, I thought it was lubricious but now I am not so sure. Peadar Clinton in some quarters could now be construed as a visionary.

The President Is Dead

Over the last week or so we are being inundated with 40th anniversary stuff on that "fateful day in Dallas." In fact, it's the only issue that current politicians appear to agree on, i.e., "it was a tragic but defining moment that remains enshrined in the nations collective memory, a moment in time, frozen in the American psyche" an event that became a catalyst for the pent up rage and frustration for the millions who felt the American Dream was still just that, ' a dream.'" Everyone remembers where he or she was, and what he or she were doing on Friday, November the 22nd, 1963. I was a fifteen-year-old "rebel without a clue" who dropped out of high school and found myself sweeping floors in a textile factory. My mother had thrown down the gauntlet. Either go back to school or (a) get a job, (b) get a hair cut, (c) go to mass every Sunday, and (d) find a girl, and build a future together. That Friday evening around 8:00 pm Irish time, I was on the job sweeping the floors, when Bertie Tallon came over from the canteen where they had a radio and told me that "Kennedy had been shot and they think he may be even dead." The news was still sketchy. Later that night it was confirmed that "The President Was Dead." All over Ireland a ghastly silence descended. Kennedy, earlier that year, had visited Ireland and was practically canonized by an adoring Irish public. Every Irish household had two pictures proudly displayed in their living rooms one of the Blessed Virgin and one of the dynamic, redheaded, young Irishman from Boston who had dazzled the whole of Europe with his charm and biting wit that summer of '63. Now, it was over, the dream was now, inexplicably, a nightmare. On Sunday morning, the 24th, the drama was still unfolding. I got up early and headed down to the village (Duleek) and joined a crowd that had crammed into O'Neill's thatched pub to watch the ongoing news on TV. O'Neill's pub had one of the few television sets in the Parish. At that time, all TVs were black and white and the reception was extremely problematic, sometimes you would have a picture, sometimes not, other times there was sound and no picture, or there was so much snow on the screen you couldn't see anything. There were three buttons on the back of these televisions that read " vertical", "horizontal", and "contrast". If you were brave enough to try to fix the TV during one of these outbreaks, it either made you a genius if you managed to get lucky and fix it, or if it got worse, you were berated as a " whippersnapper " and were likely get the back of an elder's hand. This Sunday morning, however, the television was on its best behavior. The picture was as clear as day.

Oswald Is Shot And I Had My First Drink

Then there was a news flash, "Oswald the alleged assassin", the guy who had just replaced Hitler as the most despised individual on the planet, was being escorted from the Dallas City Jail on Harwood Street to the Dallas County jail. The mood that morning at O'Neill's little thatched pub was a lingering mixture of confusion, fear and fury. I knew, being a kid, it was not a good idea to step on anyone's toes on this day. Just be there, I thought, blend in, observe and keep your mouth shut. " Then Oswald appeared on screen in the center of a group of guys with big ten gallon hats. He looked liked someone might have worked him over a little, one of his eyes was closing and bruised, but surprisingly, he appeared remarkably composed. Then all of a sudden all hell broke loose, a little stocky guy who did not at all look like a cop, or even a Texan for that matter, rushed forward towards Oswald and shot him point blank in the stomach. In an instant what had previously been forty eight hours of collective despair and bewilderment following the President's assassination had suddenly changed to a ghastly hellish surrealism, as Oswald's limp body doubled in pain, and fell lifeless to the cold jail house floor. In fact, you could actually hear Oswald momentarily cry out as the shot tore through his frail and exhausted body. O'Neill's and the Dallas City Jail erupted into simultaneous pandemonium. Jim O'Neill, the bar owner, looked over a sea of shocked incredulous faces, that had somehow frozen in time and maneuvering his way in my direction through the crowded bar, he said to me in an almost protective and fatherly way, "have a drink, gossoon" (young lad). It's on the house as he handed me a pint of "Harp Larger." "This America", he cautioned " is a strange and crazy place." I looked at the TV that was now starting to act up again, but nobody cared anymore. Periodically, the picture would right itself and it showed a bunch of paramedics working frantically on Oswald. Johnny McL, who was once considered one of the best medical minds in the county before the drink had it's way with him, commented that "it was strange to see these guys in Dallas pumping Oswald's chest and abdomen given the fact that Ruby had shot him in the stomach." By then, I was half way into my third pint of Ireland's best larger, and for some reason all the bedlam and insanity appeared distant and remote. The future, I reflected, in the midst of this lunacy, in some odd twisted way, appeared OK. For the next twenty years, alcohol became the great elixir. It was the solution to every problem. I basically checked out, memories of events historical or otherwise are sketchy at best. I like to tell people the only two things that I can recall with any real clarity from my pre-drinking days, was a song by Connie Francis entitled "Lipstick On His Collar" and Eisenhower's departing speech from the White House that warned of the dangers of "The Military Industrial Complex." When I regained consciousness, John Wayne was now an airport in Southern California and Jimmy Carter was trying desperately to explain his now famous "lusting in his heart" comment. I still can't figure out what all the fuss was about on that one.

Holiday buffet events

The Marina Dock will have Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve Midnight Meetings and buffet staring around 8:00 pm. All are welcome. We had one last year but I forgot to mention it beforehand in the newsletter. We always get a lot of people over the holidays, so we will stay open and make the rooms available for a midnight meeting on Thanksgiving eve as well. Don't forget, we have a regular midnight AA meeting every Friday and Saturday night. I also plan on showing a video of a Fourth of July birthday party given for Frank B a few years ago on a ferryboat in San Francisco Bay. Frank's Natal Birthday is July Seventh. I will show it on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve evenings at The Marina Dock.
Have a happy, prosperous and peaceful holiday season.

Anthony T. Murray

"Irish Tony"


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