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Irish… Or Not

Thoughts of St. Pat­rick’s Day —the parades, the memories, and Irish blessings of times gone by. I am not Catholic but—being a little Irish—I sang many of the Irish songs through my lifetime. I was much older when introduced to the Irish Blessings. Have you read any of them? They are so special. The one you are most likely to know is:

May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields and,
Until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

From what I can gather, my great great grandfather Keeling must have come from Ireland to fight in the War Of The States. Once here, he met and married a tall Indian woman that some called Mammy.
During the war, he single-handedly saved a railroad bridge at Strawberry Plains—used to send supplies to the troops—and was dubbed Hero Of Tennessee. He almost died and lost a hand when he tried to jump a fence. He lived quite a long time, though poorly. His hand was buried in a local grave.
From his background must have come my wonderful, musical, loving father. Be-fore going to work each day, he played his guitar and sang until time to leave. The next limerick reminds me of him.

Lucky stars above you,
Sunshine on your way,
Many friends to love you,
Joy in work and play,
Laughter to outweigh each care,
In your heart a song,
And gladness waiting everywhere,
All your whole life long!

My mostly English mother was such a dear lady. Her greatest love was for her family and it was returned by each of us tenfold. I feel this limerick was a good one for her:

May the embers from the open hearth warm your hands,
May the sun’s rays from the Irish sky warm your face,
May the children’s bright smiles warm your heart,
May the everlasting love I give you warm your soul.

I had to smile when I found the next one. It is addressed to many of us.

May you have the hindsight
to know where you’ve been,
the foresight,
to know where you’re going,
and the insight,
to know when you’re going too far.

Kitty Maiden is a staff writer for Seniors Today.