Thoughts On the Emerald Isle Part 1

In his writings, Joseph Campbell often argued that every epic tale begins with a search for the father (Disclaimer: I realize that I may have excited some of your curiosity.  Settle down.  This is not an epic tale, more of a quaint anecdote).  Personally, I’ve known where my father is all of my life, even when I didn’t want to.  Perhaps that is why there have been no true epic moments in my life,  accept for my wedding (I have to say that to keep the wife happy; as far as I know, she’s my only reader).  I say all of that in jest, but it’s pretty true.  My wife is amazing, and I love the crap out of her.  Anyway, even though my father was there, I have always been fascinated with where I came from, and the people who came before me.

This infatuation was exacerbated when my mother retired, and became severely bored.  She wasn’t bored with my father, he’s very amusing (like a clown).  She was just used to work taking up most of her day.  She needed something to keep her mind active so she didn’t sail off into the blurred waters of senility.  She chose to immerse herself into geneology.  It was through her hard work that she tracked one vein of our family back to the lovely island of Ireland.  My Great (five or six times) Grandfather James Strachan lived and was buried in a small suburb of Dublin known as Chapelizod.  As Katie and I had caught a great package deal to spend New Year’s Eve in Ireland, it was decided that we would include in our travels my quest for my family’s history.

People have told me, especially at work, that I don’t talk very much.  However, I’ve noticed that, when writing, I’m rather long-winded (long keyed? long finger-stroked?).  Anyway, as this is a pretty long story, and I have the attention of a

I think I might break this story out into a couple of different posts, as it could get very long.  Besides, that might build some suspense.  Spoiler Alert: nothing really happens, even at the end of this story, so don’t let suspense ruin your day.  It’s bad for your heart.

International travel always creates one very entertaining byproduct: as you prepare for your trip, and you begin to tell people about it, you get a wonderful peek into just how bad people’s sense of geography is.  Here are a couple of my favorites:

“Wow, Ireland, huh?  Are you flying?”  Nope, I refuse to pay extra for my luggage. We’re taking a unicorn.

“Are you going to visit some of the other countries while you’re over there?”  Hmmm…I don’t think we’ll have time to get all the way up into Northern Ireland, but we might try to dip down into Narnia.

If people around the world knew that Americans thought Ireland to be somewhere tucked in below Spain, they’d probably hate us even more than they already do.

When we flew into Dublin, it was snowing.  For those of you who do not live in Ireland (all sixteen of you that do live there, already know this) it doesn’t usually snow there.  In fact, it snows so rarely that they do not know how to deal with it. There was not enough salt to clear up the streets and the side walks, so both were covered with a slick layer of ice.  This added an amusing nuance to the trip, as we watched people (ourselves included) slip around like idiots.

Oh,I forgot to mention, we went on this trip with Garrett and Kristen.  They are perfect travel companions for Katie and me.  I’m not sure if none of us has opinions, or if we all just have the same opinion.  Either way, it works out great.  Garrett is a photographer/stripper (amateur, not for money), and was my roommate in college.  It’s his birthday today, so you should all give him a call.  I think he’s turning forty.  Kristen, his wife, is a surgeon.  It still seems odd to me that one of my best friends is a surgeon.  I’m not sure why.  I think I still think of myself as a child, and surgeons seem so grown up.  Kristen’s not too grown up; if she was, she would never have married Garrett.

Anyway, Ireland in the snow was beautiful.  Ireland, anytime is beautiful.  However, it seemed exceptionally romantic to kiss my wife on New Year’s Eve in front of Christ’s Church, in the snow, while the world’s largest circular church bells tolled away, announcing the end of one decade and the birth of a new one.  Wow, that was a long sentence.  I feel out of breath just  from typing it.  Regardless, it was a pretty special moment.  So special that, immediately following, we ran into the closest pub to get the hell out of the snow and cold.  Luckily, Ireland has this cool invention to keep you warm.  They sell them in pints, but it’s best if you buy them in bulk.  Beer was actually invented by the Mesopotamians back in some-number B.C., but it was perfected in Ireland (in some-number A.D.).

On that note, I have errands to run.  To be continued…


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