I had asked the important question; I sat in my black leather high backed swivel chair, leaning back slightly, chewing on the end of my pound shop reading glasses. The street had gone quiet now and the only sound was my own internal voice endlessly echoing off its walls that same self question..
“What is Celtic and what is it we want of and for our club?”
Another even more fundamental quandary would occur later but for the moment I could only deal with this one. After all I had a deadline to meet and everyone knows what an absolute stickler for deadlines I am.
I put the spectacles down and frustrated with the lack of a simple clear answer, I fingered the twenty four carat gold Coronation cup commemorative earring that had once been worn so proudly by my best pal ever – Rex, my ⅛ breed mongrel companion who had been the only dog in the whole of Coatbridge that could tell the difference between margarine and butter. He died as he lived, shut accidently in the fridge with his faithful companions of slightly salted Lurpack and a packet of Stork. Now with his ultra sensitive dog sense, he seemed to be gently barking a hint from that big dairy in the sky.
I strained my mind’s ear and a thousand other voices behind me began shouting at me. I spun on the silent, German built, Teflon skinned ball bearing (the technology in my chairs swivel mechanism is the same as that in use in Glasgow’s ‘world’s tallest revolving non-revolving ‘ tower, However I don’t thing the purchasing department at the Science centre should have taken DFS as a particularly relevant reference). Anyway, three and a half times I went round before, desperately grabbing at the bulging bookshelves behind me as nausea threatened to regurgitate the contents of my afternoon in Sharkeys, I vibrated to a halt – just like the Glasgow Tower did all those years ago after exactly 48 seconds.
I was facing the bookshelves.
“Of course! Of Course” I smiled a little dizzily, swallowing back on the green packet of crisps I had dined out on earlier.
The guiding hand of fate had come up trumps again. It was the books on the shelves that were shouting at me. They held the answer, simple bookshelves built from Scots Pines and Irish Alder protecting the knowledge of the centuries and lovingly collected by myself over the decades. Loads and loads of books, stories, anecdotes and tales of daring dos and don’ts.
Three bookcases stood resplendent in their pregnancy of delights. Well two did. My eyes drifted to the third that sat forlornly empty, its once proud contents dispersed to the four winds of pals’ coffee tables. “I’ll return it next week” the ever good intentioned call as another tome was snaffled into the world’s asteroid belt of borrowed books.
A tear almost came to my eye like a nightingale singing in St Enoch’s square
I repelled the assault of incipient insanity. The books undoubtedly held the answer to the conundrum I had posed. (For those who may not realise any longer what they are reading and find the desire to live abating, the question was “What is Celtic and what is it we want of and for our club?”)
Doubt disappeared, qualms quiesced and distrust dispersed. A labour of love beckoned and with a trembling hand but the glint of the zealot in my eye I picked out the first of the alphabetically ordered compendiums of green and white truth… and started to read.
My speed reading course at last come in really useful (I bet you wish you had taken that class as well!!) and four days and nights later as Wednesday morning dawned I reached the final full stop, of the final sentence, of the final paragraph, of the final page and (finally?) closed the dust cover of the last (you can have too many finals) treasure trove having devoured every word that mattered in my quest for who we are, were and want to be.
It was all there. It was obvious. But then that earlier feeling resurfaced; that nagging pain in my conscience…that latent ‘Another Question’ peeked over the garden wall of my certainty.
If it was so simple, why had ‘The Announcement’ not been made with the accolades of cherubim, seraphim and Susan Boyle bringing sunshine to a grey day throughout Tim Heaven? Why did it appear that it was only me who seemingly had heard ‘The Announcement’? Why was it only me who had seen its importance and sought its provenance, relevance?
Even worse, throughout the Timverse I was becoming doubted, labelled a charlatan, a con-man a figure of fun! (At least I was spared ‘hun’…..so far)
Something was wrong. So far wrong that I started to doubt whether I should just have kept my mouth shut and my outbox empty. Ibegan to despair again. I began to think not of the ‘Revelation. But of a mansize mug of strong tea (tea bag left in) with one sweetener, a wee drop of milk, a Tunnocks caramel wafer and a chocolate cream snowball.
Fortunately I was saved from the spiral of despair as my inbox beeped to ‘grand old team’; another job offer probably.
“Oh feck, I’ve got the broo the day” I remembered; “but ‘No’ this is more important than preparing for that” I convinced myself.
My inbox played again. It was going mad every three seconds the message count was going up. I watched the senders’ names coming through, none I recognised and all with that same subject line. “Saturday 10th September Match 11am”.!..By now I had got used to the interminable and stressful pressures of demands for an early revelation of ‘The Announcement’. But I was being inundated by e-mail requests. I needed time to think. I switched it off and thought again. The books had been clear. The Celtic ethos, the Celtic Community, the Celtic Family, we’re on the one road, Willie Maley, Brother Walfrid, Tommy Burns, roots in the famine, the tricolour over Paradise, the Coronation Cup, 7-1, The Big man, 9 in a row, MON, Seville, Wee Gordon, Bhoys against bigotry, Martin kane (Kano) but most of all repeatedly….The Celtic Family.’
My Inbox bleeped again!!
“How the feck did that happen’…I looked at the lifeless black lump in front of me. It beeped another six times. I checked the switch and lights. It was off! “Hmmm residual energy possibly” I thought in that way that someone who knows feck all about electricity would say “ I’d better make sure it’s ok.”
I switched it back on. The screen blazed into life as if waiting for me. My mail system was still up and the last mail highlighted was from the same overseas recipient as the previous week’s message. The subject line just said ‘Well done……’. I opened it and the body of the text read as follows
“Well done indeed. You are half way there. You have asked the right questions and you have answered the first one correctly. Now think on the second one. Think of the events that have happened and those that have not. Think of ‘why the dog did not bark in the night’, and remember that other great Holmesian saying that ‘once you have eliminated the impossible, whatever is left, no matter how improbable….must be the truth.” Remember too that you are never alone. I am watching and when you reach the pot of green white and gold at the emnd of the improbable rainbow, you will know because …..I WILL TELL YOU! Now think on what you have learned so far. I leave you with one little hint ‘perhaps the written word only contains the narrow spine of the truth. Perhaps we ignore the wider universe of reality. Sometimes we don’t shout about things because we haven’t heard about them ourselves….yet! Think of why they haven’t been heard or read. And start with ‘The Celtic Family’ O.k. I know that’s five things. Hey but time is running out. Just get on with it. Bye bye!”
“The Celtic Family. What do we want? Why haven’t they heard ‘The Announcement’/ The wider truth? The improbable rainbow. Naw! Surely not! It couldn’t be. It was impossible, but there again everything else was even more impossible; so by the rules of the labour ‘whatever is left, no matter how improbable must be the truth’, it must just be highly improbable and therefore the truth. Naw! Feck me!
I made a cup of strong tea. Feckin unbelieveable!
My Inbox bleeped again.
It was yer man again. The subject line simply said. ‘Correct!’
The message itself was shorter and warm.
Now tell the world; tell the Celtic World, tell the whole world. But before you do go and have a mansize mug of strong tea (tea bag left in) with one sweetener a wee drop of milk, a Tunnocks caramel wafer and a chocolate cream snowball. ‘Rarely has anyone deserved such a reward so much’.
So I did.
Tea, wafer and snowball taken I settled back in front of the screen.
If the world was to know, it had to be now. I opened CQN and with the speed of Bobby Lennox my two forefingers homed in on the keyboard.
To be continued