Monday, March 17, 2014

Of Thumbs And Irishmen

Four years ago, my first cousin Susan sent me some family pictures including the one above. It's my mother as a young lady, I would guess college age. The neat thing is that I had never seen this particular shot before and of course, it brought back memories. If you are a new reader, my mother died March 31, 2009 after descending into the chasm that is Alzheimer's. A lovelier person you will never meet. I wrote the following on March 17, 2006 about the most important woman in my life and the day for all of us partly Irish to celebrate our heritage.

Mom and I looked at pictures today. The wall in one hallway of my folks' home is covered with photos of past generations on both sides of our family. I pointed at her wedding picture and asked who the young woman was in the white gown- she wasn't sure. She moved on to a portrait of her parents and siblings. She knew her father but couldn't place the rest. She wants to know and she knows she should know but she can't quite get it. I sometimes give her hints or maybe say, "Isn't that Evelyn?" Mom does pretty good when you give her reminders. We all need reminders at times.

Today is St. Patrick's Day. There were parades all over the country. It was hard to escape the green. I didn't have anything to wear that would have kept me from getting pinched as a kid. We went to the home of friends of my parents and had a traditional Irish meal. I must confess; I have no concept of why we celebrate this holiday in the US. Maybe it has to do with the fact that many of us are somewhat Irish. Maybe that's why we wear green, as a reminder that somewhere in the long ago, we owe a debt of DNA to the Emerald Isle.

I have another confession: I suffer from hyalophobia. Probably few of you know that hyalophobia is the fear of glass. (I had to look it up myself!) As a college student, I worked on maintenance crews for several summers at York College. Zayne Larsen and I waxed every floor in every dorm and classroom building. To hasten the wax drying, we opened the windows, some of which were very old. One afternoon after everyone had left for the day, I returned to Hulitt Hall, closing the windows. I wasn't paying attention. A very large pane of glass split in two and crashed down, nearly severing my left thumb. Fortunately, Bob Lawrence, an English professor, happened to still be in his office and rushed me to the hospital. I suffered no permanent physical impairment but mentally, I have nightmares of broken glass. A long scar on my hand serves as a permanent reminder of the danger of one careless moment.

Our Father in Heaven is so wise. He knew in his infinite wisdom his children would need constant reminders of his love and our debt. He gave us the scriptures and ability to learn them. He sent his Son as our Savior and a special meal to help us recall his sacrifice. Jesus promised the apostles the Holy Spirit would remind them of what they had been taught. And I think the Lord gave Christians to other Christians to help us remember our obligations to each other and to those who don't know the peace from above. Once a year, we can all be children of Ireland. Every day of the year, we can all be children of God.

Applicable quote of the day:
"Irish Alzheimer's: you forget everything except the grudges."
Judy Collins

God bless,
Steve (1/32nd Irish)
Luke 18:1
E-mail me at


Jon said...

Happy St Patricks Day

Anonymous said...

A fear of glass?? I never heard of that before,you learn something new everyday.Happy Belated St. Patricks day!

LillyB said...

Really beautiful picture of your mama!
I like your blog.