The farmhouse two miles out the Beach road near Bantry belonged to a man named Jackie. The House was built tight against the road, or maybe before the road, and faces the North Atlantic with two fields between the house and a stone beach. Winter gales from the north and west produce waves powerful enough to hurl seaweed and stones the size of bread loafs into the fields. Local farmers add seaweed to their fertilizer. When it rains, the runoff from the fields stains the baywater a tea-with-milk brown.
Jackie and his sheepdog used to sit out front and watch the road. Whenever a car or a walker passed, Jackie would wave with two fingers in the shape of an imaginary pistol. Irish drivers call this “saluting.”An easy way to mark yourself as a tourist, a snob, or a bore is not to salute. Jackie was known for saluting so fast you could almost miss it. And so in town his nickname was “the fastest gun in the west.”