Shamrocks and Sparrows


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.


20 thoughts on “Shamrocks and Sparrows

  1. What a lovely, quiet post. I’m Irish, too, though rather quiet about it myself. Three families came here together in the late 1700s, intermarried among themselves, and kept alive many of the traditions. They came from County Down, and my grandfather used to play for me on the fife my gr-gr-grandfather carried in the Civil War, and sing “Star of the County Down.” No green beer for those celebrations — but we had what we loved.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My husbands family has a bit of the Irish in them. His Grandma always used to call our youngest son “her little Irish boy”. That might have had something to do with the sparkle in his eye, the grin on his face and the spattering of freckles over his nose.
    Loved this post! Have a blessed weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m a day late and a dollar short but wishing you the blessings of an Irish prayer, May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind always be at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face, and rains fall soft upon your fields.


  4. Sounds as if you had a lovely St. Patrick’s day! And I think your description of the Irish is accurate. My father-in-law was 100% Irish, and he was also very sentimental. He tried to come across as a “tough” man, but whenever he saw something that touched his heart, we all had to pretend we didn’t notice how hard he was trying not to cry. We all still miss him so much!


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