“Two Uncle Mikes Walk into a Bar…”


bachmr-dooleysThe year was 1995, and I turned 21 that year. It was an auspicious time, filled with many misadventures and many happy circumstances. I was blessed with a great deal of luck and privilege, and my guardian angel surely deserved an award for guiding me past any and all adversities that came my way.

On Thursday, March 16,  I crossed the threshold at 77 Broad Street, around 5pm, wearing my Tartan Scally Hat. I was to meet my Da there, for an after work birthday pint. To those not in the know 77 Broad Street, Boston, is one of the finest drinking establishments in town, Mr. Dooley’s Tavern. It is a place that is both small and large, and contains the kind of charm that a wide-eyed late teen/early twenty-something would covet from afar when starting to desire and plan to drink legally.

Somehow, the word got around to my Uncle Mikes (I have two Uncle Mikes, a paternal and a maternal ) that I was meeting my Da for a pint at Dooley’s. If there is a crossroads of time, or an alternate universe where I could re-experience this night again, I would do so. The magic of it is well remembered and cherished.

I sat and waited for my Da to come, and in walked my first Uncle Mike.


He was also wearing a Scally Cap. He sat and we shared a drink. A moment later, my second Uncle Mike walked into Dooley’s.

100_0814  He was also wearing a Scally Cap.

Last but not least, in walked Da, and you guessed it, he was wearing his Scally Cap too.

The mood was convivial, and I felt as if I had been baptized, brought into the club, as if I was one of the guys. It felt great. It still feels great.

On this, the 23 anniversary of that event. I thank the universe for such a gift.

Although, Da has moved on to Broader Streets,


I still have my Uncle Mikes, and when I lift a pint, I think back to that night, huddled in a booth,


sipping pints, four huge Irish-American heads covered in Scally Caps, welcoming a young lad into the fold.





“Innisfree has become another word for heaven to me”

To my Father Paul, my Mother Kathleen, my Uncle Kevin, and all the beloved and missed members of the Hickey, Connolly, Power, White, Dwyer, Warner, families, as well as those in our extended tree.

I hope you’ve found your way to the tightly thatched roof of the White O’ Morn Cottage. Such a lovely little cottage. There’s a fire up, and the tea’s on. Be sure to wipe your feet at the door. Snow is general over Boston, and we’ve miles to go before we sleep.

God bless all in this house!



“The Pot Calling the Kettle Black” © C.P. Hickey 2018




There, on the sink sideboard was the pot.

First, it was in the fridge for a month.

Then, on a delayed trash day after a holiday weekend,

it somehow made it onto the sink sideboard to be emptied.

It didn’t get emptied.

The pot just sat there.


The dankest and most disgusting tasks at my house, fall to me.

“Throw the pot out,” she said.

“I can’t, it was my Father’s,” I said.

So the pot resided on the sink sideboard until further notice.


One day, maybe a few weeks later.

I decided to deal with the pot.

She was out of the house, triple involved with the kids.

I grabbed the faucet and pushed it all the way back, in a quick movement.

I needed hot water.

Only that, would do.

Steam rose from the sink basin.

It was time.

I retrieved the pot from the sink sideboard,

and placed it in the sink.

I let the water run over the lid,

and down the sides of the stainless steel exterior.

Steel wool, agitator wand, sponges, I needed all of it.

The moment of truth.

I took a deep breath.

Held it.

Grabbed the lid handle of the pot,

and removed it, quite carefully.

As one might try to remove a sticky Band-aid from a patch of hairy skin.

I never.

I mean, never.

Never-ever, ever,  smelled something so rank in my life.

I immediately moved the faucet over the center of the organic amalgam that resided in the depth of the pot.

It had been something else, at some other time.

I can’t remember what it was in its previous life.

I could only bear witness to what it had become.

Extra pumps of citrus dish soap only gave the olid aroma coming from the pot a more nuanced and cloying presence.

I gagged.

I went to the stove and turned on the tea kettle.

I looked back into the sink at the copious soap suds overflowing from the pot.

It evolved into a sudsy mushroom cloud atop stainless-steel structure.


Time went by, then I turned the pot over and watched most of the contents do a primordial wiggle out into the basin.

The fluid offal circled the drain and plopped into the awaiting disposal.

The disposal hummed with purpose,

and made the acrid contents more homogenous.

Lumps, and furry penicillin entities rode the tsunami wave of egress into a new physical reality.

When the kettle whistle pierced the air,

I brought the boiling water to bear on any remainders.

Then, I rocked from side to side, and got all up in the pot.

Appendages, lengths, aggressive elbows went to task.

I systematically went about freeing any of the contagion that had been left behind in the stained stainless steel container.

A steamy warm melancholy overtook the kitchen.

My feet were soiled wet from overflow, and I could feel my toes become squishy.

I grew aggressive and channeled my rage.

A final rinsing.

Laps around the track.

I brought the pot up to my nose and inhaled deeply.


Heated citrus.

Raw earth.




I placed it upside down on the dish strainer to drip-dry.

There it remained drying in the silence of a lonely kitchen.

Until, the canary yellow wall-mounted landline phone exploded with necessity.

I answered…

“Yes,…yes,…yes,…I can do that. Sure,…I’ll see you around 8 tomorrow. Ok.”

I strode over to the post-modern sculpture residing in the dish strainer, retrieved the dried pot and set it atop the largest burner on the stove.

I ignited the burner.


Heated citrus.

Raw earth.




I collected my spices, and the ground beef wrapped up in wax paper that sat atop the first shelf in the fridge.

I sauntered over to the heating pot, and opened the wax paper parcel and allowed the contents to succumb to gravity.

The sizzle the pot made as the pink dandies hit the stainless-steel, raised the hairs on the back of my neck.

They were definitely going to love my homemade chili.

“Everyone Else Is Doing It So Why Can’t We”

Yesterday, I heard the sad news that Dolores O’Riordan died at the age of 46. I truly enjoyed her gifts as experienced in her haunting vocal talents. She fronted the 90’s “alternative” band The Cranberries. Too many memories to mention, so I’ll drop just one:

One night while in our cups, a buddy of mine (Brian S.) and I decided that we were going to go back to my house and steamroll my sleeping father while singing “Salvation”.


As the night passed, I got a booty call (this was before they were called booty calls) and went to an alternate location. I gave my house keys to Brian S. and he went to my house to crash.

When I arrived the next day, my father looked quite beside himself. I asked him what was wrong, and he said, “Fuckin’, Brian woke me up in the middle of the night by jumping on top of me and singing Cranberries.”

The best laid plans of mice and men, are followed through by devout friends, despite the call of the wild.

Peace, Dolores. Your music is magic.


Specters of Christmas Past

Doing something tonight that I haven’t done in a while.


There, all the lights are out.

Except the Christmas Tree.

Magic lights, blinking dreams. Heart flutters and sugarplum fairies goading me to remember the short past or long past. It depends entirely on your perspective.

As a matter of convenience I’ve located an app on my smart tv that plays Christmas Ditties. Years ago it was cassette tapes, then it was CDs, then digital downloads. Now live streaming. Buffing along song to song, being carried down the stream of memories that connects me to this holiday season and all the holiday seasons that I’ve made my stake and found my joy within.

This is a truly magical time of year in my heart and in all of my actions. It always has been, as far back as I can remember.

I grew up in a standard household of four. Dad, Mom, Son, and Daughter. There was a dog (an Irish Setter, named Katie), multiple hamsters and gold fish which never lasted, and a two bedroom second floor flat that held sway over my imagination over the formative years of my life.

We were poor, but didn’t realize we were. That might have been the greatest gift of our childhood (of which we had many gifts). Running a house in today’s world gives me a respect for all that my parents sacrificed in order to provide so many good times, and great Christmases.

My Mom, after her Mom, was the Major General of the production. It all started with her desire to create a happy holiday home. My cheeks turn red when thinking about all the things she lavished upon us. We were spoiled in these holiday moments, and graciously gifted many times over by two sets of grand parents and three doting uncles. We all lived within a square mile in those days, and the traipsing back and forth from home to home allowed for us to grow keen of different types of cooking at each home. as well as a nose for our favorites.

I’d be remiss if I forgot to mention how important the church was in our lives, our parish life.

All good things contained within the wilds of zip code 02129, “Chawles’town” to the locals. God, school, family, friends. Life! Holiday life!

My father, a fine accomplice in achieving my mother’s designs, was satisfied to use his artistic talents to create elaborate decorating schemes and turn our apartment into a Winter Wonderland. One year he used tin foil attached to the wall around the Christmas Tree to give the blinking lights an infinity effect, another year he made an entire village out of balsa wood to surround the train beneath the tree, and in yet another year he painstakingly carved snowflakes out of glossy white paper with an Exacto Knife and affixed glitter to them so they could be hung from our suspended ceiling by paper clips.

The magic was real. When the lights went out and the tree came on we were transported to another world.

This was our normal. We didn’t know any better. We never knew of the amount of time and effort that was dedicated to achieving the proper effect. Halls decked.

Mom and Dad, a formidable Christmas Duo, raising bars and setting precedents that I still aspire to each and every Christmas.

The music continues to play, and each verse and chorus puts me in the frame of a wonderful memory.

Recounting is fun, but remembering past warmth n the grinning comfort of a glowing Christmas Tree room is sublime.

I look forward to some deep dives back in time and to bringing some gems to the forefront. Keep measure in coming days, as I plan to elaborate on all that I found good, curious, and magical.

…soon it will be Christmas Day