Everybody is at least a little Irish this week, even though I don’t think I have any actual Irish ancestors. It seems strange to me that there has been so much violence in the old country when the Irish are such a happy, all-inclusive bunch over here. I wore orange to the bar one year, but nobody understood orange in Ohio. I think that’s better, and shame on me for the provocation. Let’s just blow that off for youthful stupidity and celebrate in shades of green.
I think my dad always regretted that we weren’t Irish. He would’ve fit right in as an Irish bard, roaming the countryside, singing beautiful songs, and telling funny stories. He made me listen to a lot of John Gary when I was growing up, and this was one of his favorite songs to sing in the garden. I guess Dad gave up on being Irish after a while because he started telling people we were direct descendants of Eric the Red instead. The really aggravating thing about that little fantasy is that some of my relatives started believing it and repeating it. It’s not like Dad would lie about such a thing, is it? Yes! Dad would lie! Anything for a better story.
There was a time when he and I were sitting at Bukovnic’s Pond. The fish were strung together on the line and swimming in ignorance of their final fate while Dad explained the universe. I listened with rapt attention, glowing with the knowledge that my dad knew more than everyone else’s dad put together, and… wait a sec… something didn’t quite sound right there. I interrupted Dad’s flow of narrative to have him explain what he had just said about the moon being influenced fairies, or was it fire flies, or huh? Wait a minute! “You’re making all this up, aren’t you?!!”
Instead of a normal sense of shame for lying to a little girl, my dad roared with laughter.
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Eric the Red? Yeah, right. I’m not falling for that one. I suppose this gets to root of why nothing enrages me more than when people lie to me. I suppose Dad taught me something in that moment, which is trust no one, and fact check. Don’t send me emails of urban legends without running it past Snopes.com unless you want me to send it back to your entire mailing list with the actual facts.
Lest you think that I have a puritanical attitude about stories, let me insert here that I love fiction. Love the fanciful things that Andrew Finnie writes, and Harry Potter, and Mary Stewart’s Merlin. I used to have a bumper sticker saying “reality is for people without imaginations”, and the really funny thing is that I gave the truck with that bumper sticker to my most gravity-bound brother, who drove around with that saying for a couple years. I love getting carried away into a different reality, just so long as everybody’s clear that now is story time, which is not to be confused with reality. I swear life would be so much better if politicians and reporters understood that difference, but I suppose Dad wouldn’t have been Dad if he’d been too bound up with reality. We had Mom for that kind of thing.
Woo hoo! A prize! Thanks very much to Otto Munchow for this honor. Visit his site for gorgeous photography and pearls of wisdom. Otto’s gotten quite a few awards lately, and very much deserved too. The problem with receiving awards is how to choose just one worthy blogger to pass it on to? Since I just mentioned Andrew Finnie, and he seems to have recently ended his painfully long blogging sabbatical, he wins. I suspect he might even go with my Irish theme this week too. Andrew gives me the same kind of “Oh yay it’s story time!” feeling that I had with Dad, plus very cool visuals.
Thanks to Debbie this week too. I won her drawing for etegami book plates and had a thrill of opening mail from Japan. (See me beaming with happiness?) Look at her lovely art and help her fundraising efforts for Japanese earthquake/tsunami victims here.