Top of the Mornin’ To Ya!
I haven’t been blogging lately because I have been busy writing the next great American novel. That story keeps me hammering away at my computer keys, not my blog.
Still, I would be remiss not to wish my family and friends a Happy St.Patrick’s Day.
Could it be so many decades ago that we got together in a park in Chicago to take the above photo? Isn’t photography wonderful to help us retain those precious moments? My Grandpa Brennan stands on the right hand side; he hailed from County Rascommon. My Grandma Brennan is third on the right; she hailed from County Mayo. They met in Chicago at a dance. Your writer is in the loving arms of her cousin, Karen.
Now I am older than my grandmother was then. Hard to come to terms with, sometimes. I remember the family celebrations on the south side of Chicago…most especially on St. Patrick’s Day. Everyone always seem to have such fun on so little. The adults would put on the old record player and teach the children how to do “the jig”. Yes, I remember lots of drinking, but all in good fun. I don’t recall anyone getting angry or upset when they drank in this Irish household. They just knew how to enjoy each other.
My grandfather, a good-looking seventeen-year old lad came to America with five dollars in his pocket. He worked his way from pub to pub on the railroad line, sleeping in the back of the pub and singing for tips only. When he earned enough to reach the next town he would be off, repeating that”career” move again and again until he had enough money to he reached Chicago.
My sisters and I took a sentimental journey back to Ireland almost three decades ago and met with the surviving family members who’s parents did not migrate to America. For admittedly this sentimental writer it was deeply moving experience. Some of our cousins still lived in the midst of a cow meadow, wishing, they, too, lived in America.
Years later, when Lee Iacocca was raising funds to restore Ellis Island (where most Irish immigrants came through) I donated a name plate to be installed on Ellis Island in each of my grandparents names, remembering the courage and saluting the hopes of a different generation…they were the ones who enabled this generation to reap the benefits of the seeds they would sow. Where would we all be now had they not the courage to do this?
Now, so many decades later, I will this year put on Irish music, as I do every year and my son, Brian Kevin Donahue,has volunteered to cook an “authentic Irish dinner” for his old Mom. I will once again take a swig and do a jig to commemorate those of my family who have gone before me, blessing them for making my life so much better than their own.
In the full spirit of the day, from both my Grandma Brennan and me, I share with you this old Irish prayer:
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.