This week has been a bit tame compared to the chaos of last week. We said bittersweet goodbyes to our 11.5 houseguests and had our first normal community meal yesterday. I realized it was our first meal without guests because we once again started discussing topics such as…well, I think you’d just have to be a fly on the wall to understand. (I don’t even understand sometimes.) Our washing machine is finally able to take a breath after a couple weeks of sheets and towels and baby clothes and contents of travelers’ suitcases. Our doormat has been able to take a breath after welcoming and dismissing countless guests day in and day out, and I have been able to take a breath—actually, scratch that last one. I haven’t been able to take as many breaths as I’ve come down with a nasty case o’ sumthin. But ah, I’ll take it as a price for fun with visitors. So I’ll assume choir went off without a hitch (as I wasn’t there to hear it) and I’ll assume work Thurs afternoon went well (as I wasn’t there to do it), and I’ll assume the sun outside is actually sun (as I can simply gaze at it from afar.) Oops, sorry to sound like an “ode to misery” there…it’s proving difficult to write about one’s experiences when one hasn’t actually experienced the experiences, if you catch my drift. So perhaps I’ll talk a little about the tour de West Ireland we had last week.
We went with some friends to the Loch & Quay Monday night for a session and a few pints. No one was able to hide from the pointed finger of the musicians as they scanned the crowd for their next culprit. My sister sang and played the guitar, my dad did an impression of Tevye from Fiddler on the Roof, my mom sang a Beatles song at warp speed, and Pauline and I sang “The Parting Glass”. Now, Pauline, mind you, sings a little…umm…deeper than I do, so I kind of grumbled out some notes in the dungeons of my range and then gave up when my throat started to hurt. So perhaps I should change that to Pauline sang and I grunted “The Parting Glass.” Then I worked while my family explored, played golf by the sea, and while I prayed for downhills all the way to collect them in their newly acquired vehicle with the nerve-wracking manual transmission. Luckily, God smiled upon me and gave me green lights, downhills, and a parallel parking place with a gap of several cars. I’m sure I took more than my fair share of space, but survival is the important thing here, right?
From there we jetted off to Waterford, Blarney Castle, the Ring of Kerry (my sister had been looking for the “ring” itself the entire day until realizing that the whole drive was “the ring of Kerry”.) Then it was Killarney, Cork, and Galway, with a brief stint at the Cliffs of Moher, where all the forces of nature were trying to get us off the cliffs….okay, so it was a little windy. But, our GPS had it in for us, sending us up into the teeny paths along the cliffs and saying things like, “turn on…road.” We quickly disregarded the GPS’s cruel traveler games and used a good old fashioned map. Accommodations were all lovely except for the last night in Dublin when we accidentally booked a room directly above one of Dublin’s premier hotspot nightclubs. Without ever setting foot in the joint, we could tell you the entire playlist of the night up until about 5am (the room was bumpin’ as much as the club) and could dictate back some fairly complete conversations as well from the decibel at which they were had.
Apologies to our guests of Saturday evening’s session at the Teach if we were a little distant due to hours of sleep. Without meaning to, we’d stayed up just as late as the partiers below.
We were up fairly early on Sunday as well, to bid the travelers farewell and to hear my dad preach at mass. He said if someone had told him that he’d be preaching in Wexford, Ireland a few years back he would’ve laughed and said, “good one, so-and-so!” Although many parishioners were fairly confused as to why some priest guy on the altar was married and had four kids. Needless to say, Fr. James cleared up some of the confusion with a proper description of what a deacon is exactly.
This week, I’ve been working with several classes at Kennedy Park in preparation for 2nd class first communion masses this weekend. They sound wonderful! Also, on my days off, I’ve enjoyed popping over to peoples’ homes for a cuppa tea and a conversation. This week it was Dominic’s turn, one of the Roman Guards in the Passion Play. He’s a faithful daily mass-goer as well as a willing participant in the play. We talked a lot about the shape of the church in Ireland and what he sees in the future. He has a great devotion to scripture, especially to the Gospels and he pulled out his Bible, a giant encyclopedia of a thing, which he lugged to the table and put in front of me. I thought about asking when he’d ever considered investing in a slightly smaller Word of God but zipped my lip when I saw the crinkled leaves, ancient photographs, handwritten letters, drawings, glitter, and markings which were all crammed inside. I smiled as he pulled out each memory and guided me through his happiest and most joy-filled times. He’d gotten the Bible for 30 quid and I could see then that it wasn’t only about the content of the great book itself, but how it has chartered his days and been an integral part of the happiest moments of his life. The two were not separated; the stories of the Bible went right along with the stories of his life and it was natural that he married the two in one meaningful life understanding.
We closed off the week with a splendid little visit to Tinturn Abbey, down in this neck of the woods with one of our friends from folk group. Looking ahead to this weekend, we have ourselves a wedding, a vocal concert, a going-away party for a good friend, masses and a ministers’ retreat. Whew.
Oh! And Happy Birthday to Nick. Have some cake! 🙂
Actually, I rescind the offer for cake since we…umm…ate it all.