Irish Lament

Talk to your old ones, talk to your young ones.
Record these talks if you can.
As First Nations writer Richard Wagamese said
“We are story. All of us. What comes to matter then is the creation of the best possible story we can while we’re here; you, me, us, together. When we can do that and we take the time to share those stories with each other, we get bigger inside, we each see other, we recognize our kinship—we change the world, one story at a time…”

Diane Taylor

I’m Irish. That’s the short story. My father’s parents were born in the small seaport of Sligo, on the northwest coast of Ireland. I never knew them; they both died before I was born. In fact, Dad doesn’t remember his mother because she died when he was just three—of peritonitis from infection after an appendectomy; his distraught father swore he’d murder the surgeon. Then at sixteen, his father died. At sixteen, my father was at the mercy of his own wits … of which he had plenty.

Dad holding his two grandchildren, my sister on the left, me on the right. About 1978.

Black wavy hair and bright cobalt-blue eyes, large ears and large-knuckled hands, Dad had a way with words. He always won the scrabble games. He recited Tennyson and Robbie Burns at length. When I complained about a teacher, he cautioned me “Learn in spite of the teacher.”…

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