Maeve and Johnny Lament That Ryans Are Human, Too
(September 1976)

(Johnny is in his and Maeve's bedroom holding a football trophy and looking at it when Maeve comes in.)

JOHNNY: How's she doing?

MAEVE: Oh, she's curled up in the middle of the bed with the covers tucked up under her chin, crying like a four year old.

JOHNNY: Well, Dee's always cried at the drop of a hat, only this time she has cause.

MAEVE: I wish I didn't believe that she's the one that dropped the hat (Johnny laughs) - in the sense, darling, that none of us would have anything to cry about at all if Delia had behaved herself.

JOHNNY: That's true.

MAEVE: (noticing the trophy) Aww... (She goes over to Johnny and takes it from him.) Frank Ryan, most valuable player in the Catholic High School Football Conference. Oh my, do you remember the dinner, John?

JOHNNY: I'll never forget it.

MAEVE: Mary jumping up to cheer Frank when he went up to accept the trophy, and knocking over the glass of water into the Monsignor's lap.

(They laugh.)

MAEVE: Oh, that dear man; he did take it well.

JOHNNY: You know, one thing I've never done was tell any of our kids that winning is more important than playing the game. I may have believed that myself, but I got around it (Maeve laughs) on a technicality.

MAEVE: Oh, did you, now?

(They pull down the covers on the bed together.)

JOHNNY: Yeah, I always told them that the important thing was giving the game their best - giving their all to it - so that in the end, there was nothing left, they were empty! Because everything that they were at that moment had gone into the effort. And that it was that way in life, whether it be football or schoolwork or loving or...campaigning. See, I always knew that given their smarts and natural talent, if our kids made that kind of effort, they would win.

MAEVE: And they did.

JOHNNY: Especially Frank.

MAEVE: Darling, I'm just...I'm just wondering if it wasn't too easy for them?

JOHNNY: Easy? He worked his tail off; he always has!

MAEVE: Oh, yes, but he was always rewarded, you know.

JOHNNY: Not tonight.

MAEVE: No. Oh, I'm just hoping he can walk away from this whole experience with something to show for it!

JOHNNY: Well, it's hard to know what!

MAEVE: Well, Frank always has known how to win, but he hasn't had much practice losing. It's a darn shame that it had to be with this campaign. But, maybe there's that to be learned, anyway.

JOHNNY: The point is, darling, it isn't even a matter of his losing! He never even got into the game!

MAEVE: Oh, John, it's as if he lost. It really is! It's everything he wanted and worked for and counted on for all those years.

JOHNNY: I know.

MAEVE: If he can accept it and if he can make a compromise and take less, maybe, than what he worked for and wanted - and less than what he deserves, for once - maybe, just maybe, he can learn to accept another situation that's less than perfect.

JOHNNY: You're talking about Dee?

MAEVE: Oh, I am.

JOHNNY: Maeve Ryan! I have listened to you for thirty years (kisses her) trying to make the best of every bad situation that's ever happened to you! Now, I love you for it, darling - I admire you for it - but (kisses her again) I don't see how it follows in this situation.

MAEVE: Oh, I'm not so sure about that, John.

JOHNNY: Well, you're saying that because Frank has lost his political career, he ought to be content to accept a bad marriage?

MAEVE: Oh, no, no, no. What I'm saying, dear, is that he may have to accept a less than perfect marriage for the sake of his son. Or maybe the grace to do just that he'll find by accepting what happened here tonight. (on the brink of tears) Oh, John, maybe we didn't do them a service (starts crying) believing as we always did that the children were somehow special and that nothing ever terrible wrong was going to happen to them. I know they believed that too. They did! That made it just that much harder when they found out they were just ordinary human beings like everybody else!

JOHNNY: (holding her) No, I'm sorry, I don't happen to think there's anything ordinary about our kids, and neither do you. (kisses her) And the reason why you're close to tears now is that you know that what happened to Frank tonight shouldn't have happened, but there's nothing you or I can do about it, and that's what makes it hurt so much.


(They hug.)

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