The man and his Musik Van
I cherish many happy memories of Mac sipping coffee at Aesop’s over the years interacting with a myriad of passersby as he sat and surveyed from “his chair” with “his mug.”
A few that come to mind: One time he ate a “perfectly good” piece of chicken off the kitchen floor commenting that he didn’t want to see it go to waste, that eating off the floor was nothing — he had been to war. Another time he came in and shocked everyone with a new tattoo on his arm. A couple of times I caught him lovingly admiring a picture of Prissy in his wallet, and then he’d tell me a story of her. And on countless occasions, I watched him force a $20 bill into someone’s pocket, and when they tried to refuse it, he would tell them to, “shut up and take the f***ing money,” and they would.
He was very generous. A very favorite memory was around 2007 when a friend and I drove by Mac’s house on Granite Street and happened to glance over to notice Mac standing on the roof of the big van in his driveway. The man is 80-something at this point. Without hesitation, we took a detour into his driveway to see if he needed any help. It turned out that he had just finished up some patchwork on a hole in the roof and we were just in time to help him climb down the rickety ladder. He proceeded to give us a tour of The Musik Van. The tour started out in the back at the upright piano, where he played us a quick tune as we paused for a sit in the antique chairs. He pointed out pictures of days gone by, and ended the tour in the front of the van at the funnel. Those of you reading this who have had the pleasure of spending time in The Musik Van already know what that funnel was for. For those of you who don’t — I will just say that it was secured to the wall behind the passenger seat at about hip height, and attached to the bottom of it was a rubber hose that led down the door and outside to the free world.
Leave it to Mac the Quack to rig up something like that! I will remember him fondly as one of the best.
Natasha Meehan lives in Dublin.