Saturday, March 17, 2012

...twas the day after St. Patrick's

In 2006, during my six month stay in Ireland, my friend, Jane, her family and I took a bus trip to Dublin the day after St. Patrick's. We strolled through the city, alert for Auburn University band members who had marched in the St. Patrick’s parade the previous day. As we turned the corner on Grafton Street, I heard Jane, an Auburn alumni, yell “War Eagle!,” the school rally cry. 

A cold day in Dublin town...I wore everything in my suitcase

These young people withstood our barrage with exuberance and good humor. We chatted and had a group photo taken, called out “War Eagle” once more in unison, as Irish shoppers laughed in passing. After we returned to Alabama, a box arrived with parade caps for each of us. To you, dear parents: your sons and daughters are good ambassadors, full of wit and good manners. To Auburn: for wonderful memories of these young people, for the lives you help shape, and for our caps, we thank you. To Melissa Humble, you delightful, talented Auburn photographer, I'll love you forever for treating some alums and Auburn parents with such grace.

While living in that beautiful country, I never tired of the green patchwork of fields stitched together with rock walls; stone cottages tucked in odd corners; old ruins regal in their deconstruction; sheep resting while lambs frolic; thoroughbred horses clad in winter turnout blankets. Some buildings wore paint older than our country. But six months in Ireland brought the occasional reminder of home. On the lane outside the door of our cottage, a car stopped one afternoon. The couple needed to find to a local bed and breakfast. We gave them directions, waved our arms, pointed up the hill. The husband said with a smile, “You’re not from around here.”

“No,” we drawled. “We’re from Birmingham, Alabama.”

To which he replied, “Are you familiar with the Copper Kettle?”

A couple from Detroit, Michigan met us in Kinsale, Ireland to inquire about a Birmingham, Alabama cafeteria. Small world. And I have the hat to prove it.

How much smaller my world would have been had I never ventured out.  

Our fears, not oceans, separate us. 


Your soul knows the geography of your destiny. 
Your soul alone has the map of your future, 
therefore you can trust this indirect, oblique side of yourself. 
If you do, it will take you where you need to go, 
but more important it will teach you a kindness of rhythm in your journey. 

No comments: