Happy St. Patrick’s Day. I’m a Canadian every other day of the year.
When I was a boy, my godmother bought me a coffee table book celebrating Ireland. It followed that in grade school, I thought to turn a work assignment about other countries into homework on the subject of Ireland. I flipped through the book to do the research (that I could do at that age) for the teacher.
The photos in the book illustrating Irish women helped shape my attitudes to the fairer gender, as well. I briefly visited the UK in the fall of 1999, but I didn’t go to Ireland.
There is a friend I know whose parents are Irish. This friend is not fond of the English, despite what I know from grade school about the role the English played shaping Canada.
At the same time, this person has a different understanding of how the Irish fared in history than I have got. That said, when my mother asked me the other day whether I am prouder of Dublin or Belfast, I found myself answering Belfast. Until then I didn’t know I felt that way.
I was born in 1977, two days before St. Patrick’s Day. My mom and dad named me Patrick, after my father’s late brother Patrick. This uncle died when he was a young man, in a motorcycle accident (he was riding). My name remembers this Uncle Patrick of mine, and of my brother and sister.
My mom and my father’s mother had a bond. When my mother was young, the two women would speak to each other privately having a coffee or Coca-Cola together or the like.
Another time In grade school I was instructed to ask questions about the family line. I brought to my paternal grandmother the question of the origin of our name.
I never knew my paternal grandfather. He’d died before I was born. I suppose I assumed we are an Irish family.
My grandmother let me know that the surname she took when she married is Welsh, of all matters. At that age, I was not aware that Wales is a principality of Britain, or otherwise knew anything about it.
Many years later my brother took a strong interest in the Irish. He went backpacking there with one or two of his friends.
He later researched our family line, and he learned of many of our living relatives in Ireland. I am sure it is an Irish family, whether the surname is Welsh.
I work for my father as a cemetery groundskeeper. When we were at the cemetery yesterday, handling a funeral, for which we were responsible, to my surprise, as we wrapped up our clean-up, we saw a hailstorm!
The spring solstice ahead: it doesn’t feel like it. Last week my father reminded me of the old expression, “In like a lamb, out like a lion.” That’s what my father was predicting for the month of March here.
About Ireland, I know it is hard when times are tough, and I am empathetic of others experiencing suffering. If you are Irish or love the Irish, God bless you. It’s your chance this day, as it is every year, to be Irish.
I hope you’re having a great day. Naturally, you are welcome to “like” this post, to follow my blog and/or to comment. Thank you for having an interest.
The cemetery where I work with my father is on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/LouthUnited My duties for the work I do are nominally tied to the posts I publish in this blog.