Tuesday, March 17, 2009

'Top of the Mornin' to You

Did you know that the traditional response to the greeting, "Top of the morning to you", is "and the rest of the day to yourself"? It stems from noon or top of the morning, being the time when hired farm hands (who had worked since before dawn) could leave their place of work to go home and work their own land.

Check out Connections for Women today. We've got a fun hunt going on to find a gorgeous Irish baby hidden in a few articles; find her and enter into a drawing for a $25.00 Amazon gift certificate.

Growing up as Irish in a predominantly British culture, keeping origins discreet was often the wisest course of action. I remember very few instances of open hostility but one stands out. I was in my second year at university and wandered into the residence common room. There had been an IRA attack on British soldiers earlier that week. A girl from the north of England turned on me as I walked in and let loose a stream of obscenities and hatred directed at "stupid, filthy Irish". It left me , and everyone else in the room, in shock. My father left Ireland in order to escape the culture of retribution and hatred that developed during the "troubles"; he'd seen enough senseless violence to want to leave it behind. It was never spoken about but I long suspected that one uncle was active in the IRA. For their part, my parents refused to participate in the ugliness and for may years, we simply did not go back to Ireland.

No matter where we were in the world, sometime before St. Patrick's Day, a small box would arrive from my grandmother containing a little mound of moss dampened shamrock picked from her garden and we'd wear a discreet sprig of it. It was not the blatant in your face pseudo Irish stuff that goes on here ...green beer, drinking oneself senseless, the object of the day ...it was a quiet reminder of a religious holiday and national pride. My grandmother on more than one occasion sent a dead goose with butter stuffed in the cavity through the mail...that's another story!

I still have that national pride and it is pride for a culture rich in poetry and mythology; pride in a people who survived one of the worst famines in history; pride in a land truly green and beautiful. Oh, and I have pride in that gorgeous Irish baby....she's my grand daughter, Maxine.


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