My grandparents took our whole family to Ireland once, many years ago. My grandfather was able to find his family roots there in a beautiful, old church. We visited many of the lovely small towns and counties in southern Ireland. The people were so kind, the countryside breathtakingly beautiful and the weather was cool, foggy and always very damp. I wore new shoes on the flight over and of course manged to get a huge blister on my heel. I ended up having to spend the first few days of our trip with one foot in a sock. It doesn't sound too bad until you think about walking around in a very damp country, with one foot in what became a very damp sock. Not so great. I remember walking home, in Cork, well not home but back to our hotel, late one evening with my brother after staying much too late at a fantastic Irish Pub (if you're in Ireland is it just a Pub? Probably.) and having too much Guinness, with my my wet sock slapping along the cobblestone road, thinking to myself, "some sexy Irish lass I make...".
We ate potatoes, prepared more ways than I knew were possible and the soup! Oh my! I was not a soup drinker/eater when we went over but I converted immediately upon arriving and being served a creamy bowl of wonderful with some fresh, piping hot bread. What's not to love about a big bowl of cream, butter, fresh herbs and veggies, mmmm!
We also got to visit and yes, KISS the Blarney Stone! It sounds romantic and lucky right? We(my whole family) all climbed to the rooftop, lay down on our backs, leaned way over reaching back to hold the iron bars that are there for stability, and then arched way back to lay our lips on the famous piece of stone. It is not as easy as you might imagine and then of course, the tour guides tell you, after you've locked lips with the blarney, that the local teenagers find great joy in coming up and ah, let's say, "christening" said stone with some true Irish... pee. Ick.
We were only in Ireland for a short time and then left the gorgeous green pastures for Scotland. As we flew over her and I looked out my window on what had to be the smallest plane ever allowed to carry passengers and their luggage at the same time, I marveled at the quilt like appearance of the earth below, the many shades of green, all in nice little patches, square like with rows and rows a plenty, covering the ground, a warm cozy blanket, keeping those who lived there snuggled and safe from the winds and fog who visit them most nights.
My grandparents have been gone for many years now, my grandma first, after bravely fighting a nasty cancer that robbed her of her voice and her ability to swallow (despite never having smoked, I might add) my grandfather followed her just 3 short months after she left us, dying, literally of a broken heart, in the days of March after St. Patrick's Day.. All I have of them are my memories, many, many memories though, because of all of the fantastic adventures they created for us. But it is here in March, in the days of Leprechauns and Clovers that I think of them most. And I think to myself that I am indeed lucky, despite the tragedy I have known in my life. Lucky to have been born into a family that surrounded me in love and laughter. Lucky to have married a man that will help me create the same, I hope, feelings in our children as we journey through life, lucky that like the stunning hillsides of Ireland, I too am enveloped, protected, by the legacy they left for us.
Leprechauns, castles, good luck and laughter.
Lullabies, dreams and love ever after.
A thousand welcomes when anyone comes...
That's the Irish forI miss you still and always.