Kiss Me!

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I’m Irish. 
Did you know? 
Yes, I am.

I like being Irish. Although my great grandfather was quite typical of Irish men, if stereotypes are true. He was a drunk. A fighter. A singer. A gambler. After his wife died, he abandoned his children.  He lived in a little shack somewhere in the woods of Oklahoma. And in a drunken fit one night, he may have killed a man. As the story goes, one of his girls had to take him away to another state to hide him for a few years.  But I’ve only heard those stories. The little old man I knew was Papa. And I loved him.

He was quite broken down by that point in time. He died in his eighties so I only knew him for the last ten years of his life. He stayed with my grandmother some of the time, until he needed to be in a nursing home. But, thankfully, that was close to her home, so everytime we visited, I was able to see Papa.

I loved going to the nursing home to visit. I loved talking to the people there. It may have been my red hair…or freckles…or Texas accent. It could have been how loud I was…yes, I was very loud. It may have been my stature (read: tiny) or the pixie cut.  It could have been my love for singing and making new friends, young or old. But the nursing home was just the place to have others smile at me. I felt significant when I walked into that place. I felt loved.

My mom would tell me, “Be very kind. Old people love little kids. So don’t be afraid. And smile. Always show them you care about who they are.” I remember my parents singing for them. My mom played the piano and my dad sang tenor. She harmonized beautifully with his lead. They were heroic…in my mind.

Wow.
Good memories…

Where did all that come from?

This Irish blessing I found today:

 

May you see God’s light on the path ahead
When the road you walk is dark.
May you always hear,
Even in your hour of sorrow,
The gentle singing of the lark.
When times are hard may hardness
Never turn your heart to stone,
May you always remember
when the shadows fall—
You do not walk alone.

 

I really love being Irish.

(The title was originally, “Blarney Spoken Here” but considering the name of my blog…somehow it just didn’t fit!)     😯     

😆

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7 responses »

  1. I just love you my friend! I love to hear your heart and your memories. Thanks for giving me another reason to smile today!!

  2. We share the same heritage Michelle, both of my grandmothers were Irish, a Leonard and a Cahill.

    Two of my uncles were alcoholics, and died in their 30’s. However aclohol addiction is found in many ethnic groups. There is likely a genetic preposition to it, but the circumstances of our lives have more of an influence.

    If your great-grandfather lived through the depression, as my grandfather did, those were hard times, that made a lot of men hard.

    My grandfather also spent the last years of his life in a nursing home, where he took his own life.

    It is good that your experience with your great-grandfather was a positive one, so you have fond memories of him.

    With both my grandfather and step-mother, and now some of my friends, I have spent a lot of time in nursing homes. There have been many improvements over the years. The toughest part is seeing so many elderly who are have few, or no, visitors. It was great that you and your family spent time with your great-grandfather. He was lucky to have felt loved.

  3. Hey, Ed! I’m mostly Irish, and with a bit of digging I find we’re Scotch-Irish (Scots-Irish), but we do have English and German in our mix. (I’d list the names, but then I’d lose my anonymity…)

    I love my ancestry. It’s colorful. We’ve been in America from the colonies. Family legend on my mom’s side speaks of Mayflower descendants…kinna cool. Would LOVE to have proof of that.

    I’m so thankful to have known Papa. I didn’t know all of his background as a child. But I did know he adored me. And I loved him, too. He lived a very hard life with his wife dying at an early age. He was alone with two little girls so, I believe, his decision was wise in asking the grandparents to raise the girls. It’s not surprising to me that grief could cause such results in a person’s life.

    But yes, I’m glad he felt loved by me in his last years.

    I’m sorry to hear about your grandfather’s death. I wish I could say I don’t understand suicide, but I think I do. It’s a desperate place…a scary, black hole of despair. And the elderly are not immune…they account for over 18% of suicides in the U.S.

    Feeling alone and unloved…

    hmmm…

    But God.
    (He really is my answer to all the questions of life.)

    Wow, Ed! We might be related. 🙂

  4. Great story, Michelle.

    I have so many bloods that I just refer to myself as a “mutt,” but one of the significant ingredients is Irish. I love it that God created so many, very different people, and that we all fit together (those of us who belong to Him) into one body–His expression on the earth. Isn’t He amazing?

    Thanks for sharing this–it’s one of those stories that just makes you feel good to have heard it.

    Love, Cindy

  5. ha ha ha! your last line cracked me up! especially with the little bug-eyed guy! love it!

    and i love this line in your irish blessing:

    When times are hard may hardness
    Never turn your heart to stone

    praying that for me.

  6. I’m glad to have made you “feel good”, Cindy, with my story. I always smile when I remember Papa.

    I’m so glad someone laughed at the last line, Alece. (I thought it the most humorous.)

    And yes, that blessing hit me right where I needed it, as well.

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