His staunchness and loyalty have already been lauded by his comrades.
But I want people to remember that sense of humour.
I chose this anecdote because a lot of people who weren’t close to him never realised he had a mad sense of humour.
He and I were blasting down the Melmount Road, late 80s, XR3i, (me back from England for a wee break) –“Never Mind the Bollocks” by The Sex Pistols playing – singing along.
Brits stepped in the road just before Beechmount Avenue waving us down.
Eddie swerved around them and continued down the Melmount Road then up the Ballycolman Lane to drop me off.
There were 6 British soldiers waiting for us outside my Ma’s house.
They surrounded us in a well rehearsed move.
I, as per usual, started ranting at them.
Eddie smiled at me, locked all the doors and turned the volume of the Sex Pistols tape as loud as it would go and said “ignore them.”
There were Brits tapping on every window going “excuse me sir?”
We just sat there, staring straight ahead, nodding our heads slightly, to the music, pretending we couldn’t hear them. Just refused to acknowledge their existence.
Then “Anarchy in the UK” came on...
It was my favourite song at the time. (it still makes me jump all round ..)
Eddie, thinking I was gonna start pogoing gripped my arm and out of the side of his mouth said “don’t move!”
Next thing the Brits started pogoing round the car and “strumming” their rifles like they were guitars.
Eddie said to me “don’t look at the cunts and don’t laugh at them!”
I shouted “I won’t!!” then I burst out laughing... then he did!
We all laughed for about 5 minutes.
Them and us!
Having a laugh together–it wasn’t exactly playing football in no man’s land on Xmas day but it was surreal.
My parents had come out to watch.
Long story short – the Brits gave us a cursory search and left.
Eddie went home; I looked across the street at my Ma and Da standing in the front garden and thought “just the oul doll’s wrath now...”
She never opened her mouth.
Remember we were playing The Sex Pistols – Never mind The Bollocks?
I’d bought the record about a decade earlier and drove everybody in the house mad by constantly playing it. Especially my Da.
He had watched (and listened to) my punk faze in the ‘70s with absolute horror! That day, as soon as the Brits drove off he turned to me and shouted - “How many times did I try to tell you about that fucking music, ye wee shite!”
Dino McGarrigle is a Strabane raconteur.