There were three certainties in Father McClarey’s life that were as immutable as his faith in the lord and savior.
First, that the Lucchesi twins would be the first trouble makers sent to him when school was in session. Next, that the hemlines of girl’s skirts rose at a rate directly proportional to the loudness of their music. And finally, that with in a week of the first cold night after summer, the Irish Travelers would return.
One November morning he would look up from his pulpit and there would be a slash of dark hair through his congregation, the telltale sign that the Travelers had come home.
They would suddenly be everywhere all at once. In his classrooms and at his masses, like it was nothing out of the ordinary to inject themselves back into his world now that their summer work had dried up.
He wasn’t deaf to the whispers that they were nothing more than conmen and grifters, out to pauperize everyone they came across. But, he wasn’t here to judge them. While the Irish Travelers were home, they were his flock to watch over.
At least until the summer returned and the Irish Travelers disappeared again.
The Irish Travelers are often incorrectly called gypsies. But they are not. They lead a similar lifestyle, constantly moving on the edges of society, but are not Roma. Like their name suggests, they’re from Ireland. In Memphis, we’ve got our very own group of Travelers. They call themselves the Mississippi Travelers, and at peak, had over three hundred families in their group here.