The summer of 1995 was the balmiest period of sustained good weather Ireland had experienced in living memory. Those few months have a hazy, dream like quality to them – but that could be down to the amount of beer I was drinking at the time.
My buddies and I were 20 years old and enjoying life. Most of us had summer jobs, so we had money to party. We had grown a little tired of the same old bars and clubs in Dublin City Centre.
One of the guys (let’s call him Jeff) suggested he’d be designated driver (by virtue of borrowing his moms car) and we could travel outside the city for beers. We eagerly agreed and set off for a town called Skerries. Skerries is located at the point where urban Dublin has made way to a more rural landscape.
We had an enjoyable time, mingling and drinking with the locals until the bars shut. We were in high spirits as we made our way back to Dublin.
Not too long into our journey home, I realised I was in serious need of a piss. You know those occasions where it’s either a piss or appendicitis? It was one of those. We were on a particular stretch of road that didn’t even have street lights.
I eventually told Jeff to stop the car and let me out to relieve myself. After a lot of repeated and increasingly desperate warnings to prevent my bladder exploding like a grenade, the car finally came to an abrupt halt. I jumped out and took a leak by a hedge.
At this juncture, the guys thought it would be real funny to take off and leave me pissing in the dark in the middle of nowhere.
As the car disappeared off into the distance, I scanned my surroundings. I knew the guys would eventually come back, it was just a question of how long they would take. Right?
It was pitch dark. Not city dark. Middle of nowhere, countryside dark. The road traversed a massive ploughed field.
After a minute, I noticed a shadowy, completely still figure in the centre of the field. Arms outstretched, clothed in rags. A SCARECROW!
I ran and stumbled through the ploughed earth. A few metres into the field, I reached the scarecrow. In my drunken state, I had an epiphany. “What if we brought the scarecrow back with us? WHAT A GREAT IDEA!”.
I began to wrestle and jostle and shove the stick man from where he was secured to the ground. As the stake that held him to the ground finally gave way, I fell over into the mud. I quickly got back to my feet, placed the scarecrow under my arm and made my way back out of the field.
Thankfully, the guys did arrive back to collect me about 5 minutes later. They jumped out of the car and helped me get our new passenger on board. We had to wind both windows of the cars back doors down to horizontally fit him into the car.
A memorable part of the journey home was when we got onto the motorway. If you can visualise a car with a scarecrow sticking out of the back window and various cars honking, yelling and general confusion as to what the hell we were doing.
When we finally got back to our locality, we stopped off for burgers and fries at a fast food place. I carried the scarecrow in with me and ordered a meal for him. We were beginning to draw attention to ourselves and groups of people were taking notice.
Having eaten our fill, we got back in the car, Scarecrow included. Just as we drove off, a cop car arrived on the scene, turned on their siren and signalled for us to pull over.
The cop approached to the driver window. “What the hell is that in the car, lads?”. After what felt like a decades silence, Jeff said “It’s a Scarecrow”. “It’s a what?”. “It’s a Scarecrow”.
Thankfully, the cop went easy on us. He said we had 5 minutes to get rid of the Scarecrow or he was taking us in.
When the cop was gone, we carried the Scarecrow up to another pals house. We placed the Scarecrow in his parent’s front garden facing the sitting room window and bailed.
The following morning, my pals mother was presented with the vision of a scarecrow in her front garden. Apparently, the Scarecrow is still somewhere in his parents shed.
I often think of how perplexed the farmer who owned the Scarecrow must have been. He must have wondered was it an army of crows had kidnapped him? Maybe he printed “MISSING” posters and advertised it on milk cartons?
I’m tempted to return the Scarecrow back to that field this summer. 20 years later. The farmer could wake up some morning and the prodigal Scarecrow would be there. He wandered the earth for 20 years and now he’s back.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve a shed to search.