I am in Elizabeth City on this fair morning- the day that belongs to anyone with even a bit of Irish blood in their veins has dawned with birds singing. I came on Wednesday night, Brant and Sydney arrived on Thursday. We have been cooking ever since.
Jenny has her house decorated with shamrock plants, displays of green glass and gold coins. Lyla has a beautiful little Irish Linen dress on this morning and an Irish fairy costume for later. We are after all, “a bit Irish.”
A few generations back, Henderson McDuffy Leary and his brother, Enoch settled not too far from Lake Phelps, where my sister, Connie lives today. We claim our heritage and are known to boast about it on occasion, though we laugh at jokes about the irish without malice. True to our nature, we do exhibit a “tribal mentality”. If someone crosses one of us, we are every one offended and quite likely to raise a ruckus. I, who do not kill bugs, will start the commotion. Thankfully, this does not happen often, but when it does, it leaves a memorable impression for years-long after, we have forgiven the offender. We do not quarrel amongst ourselves as it seems especially sinful, and besides that, I tell them with my hand over my heart, “I couldn’t bear for one of you to speak a word against one another.”- and I mean it.
We are every bit as sentimental as we are known to be. I cry at the drop of a hat, at things beautiful or the least bit sad. We are a soft hearted lot and because of that we are generous. We have great respect for all of the earth, and consider whatever patch we live on, about sacred. I hardly think such attributes are only found in the Irish, but I have noticed on more than one occasion, they are apt to be true-and I must say so, being it is St. Patricks’ Day, after all.
The cake is iced at last, and the final loaf of bread is almost done. It is past four and guests arrive at five. I have been in the kitchen, the better part of the day but I have stolen away to the porch several times and noticed the dog tooth violets blooming in the yards up and down the street. The laughing river just smiled today and was as blue as I have ever seen it. Finally, a day came about that was mild enough for one to sit in the open air and watch the sparrows carrying on with their great intentions.
We had just finished setting the table, when guests started arriving. Two families had babies and what a refreshing picture it made. They, like the young sparrows, so full of sweet intentions. Mandy, the darling of Pansy and Ivy came with a bouquet of Bells of Ireland and shamrock hydrangea. I had never seen this variety of hydrangea, but now I won’t soon forget it. Every petal boasted a perfect little shamrock that looked painted on.
Tonight, when I say good night to the world, I will “count my lucky stars” and be grateful to the Hand that placed them. I will be glad for sparrows and dog tooth violets-for kitchens to bake bread in and for little, Irish Linen dresses worn by a fairy, who is just a bit Irish.