Monday, August 02, 2010

Holidays With The Irish


Good God I am tired.

As I look around the morning faces on the patio deck, I see that I am not alone.

We are all sleep-deprived.

Baggy-eyed.

With only coffee and tea to recuperate for this morning's nourishment.

It's a holiday week for me. And the world is staying at our house.

I love it.

Our friends Ray and Shell from Dublin Ireland have the starring billing on the marquee. And my Mum is up from Pensacola Florida as well. My lovely wife Darlene's parents provide frequent drop over visits. And the neighbors seem to be frequently dropping in.

Family from up north has come down to see. More friends are due to arrive as the week rolls on by, from Midland and Collingwood up north.

And the neighborhood is enthralled with the Irish as well. The Irish have adopted a new local pub around the corner down at the end of the street as their own. And the regulars there quickly are adopting our paddy friends as their own.

And the two Grammas are here as well, sitting at the kitchen table playing card games with names like Kings In the Corner, Patience, and Pepper. And of course Hearts.

The two Grammas have been enjoying each other's company greatly – almost as boisterous inside the house as the gaggle of friends out at the patio.

And Ray still owns my pool table – running off all takers with the smoothness and grace of a Minnesota Fats – hitting angles that any physicist will tell you do not exist – leaving the cue ball set perfectly for the next shot.

The kids have pretty much beaten the water in the pool to death – splashing and jumping and horsing around – the first ones in and the last ones out … until the light of day is eclipsed by the western horizon.

As well my girls have had sleepovers here, and at friend's homes – with trips to the Rodeo and late nights of girl talks in sleeping bags.

It's a great holiday for sure. The kind of days that make the highlight reels of one's deathbed – as one lays there and reviews the happenings of their lives in the momentary replay of important events. These days will be important scenes on that reel of memories.

As well, in the midst of all this hedonist decadence, my lovely wife Darlene has come to the conclusion that we both need to better our health – and so we have started each morning with very long hard walks from the house down to the river where we look across to Fighting Island and Grassy Island – historic landmarks of the War of 1812.

On our very first long walk down to the river – we passed the pub adopted by the Irish as their new local. And the Irish of course were inside – holding court with the regulars – enthralling them all with their charm and their wit.

Ray and Shell make friends so seemingly easy.

Some are friends they knew from trips over in the past. Old local friends with names like Earl and Mitt and Scoop. And new faces that have not yet had the names placed on them. And each offering the Irish new adventures like fishing trips on Lake Erie and Sunday dinners with their families.

Quite incredible indeed for this social wallflower to witness. And quite a learning experience as well. I am taking notes such as "be very nice to everyone you meet" and "greet all you encounter with a smile and twinkle of the eye".

Skills that come naturally to the Irish.

Perhaps it will rub off on me somehow.

The best part is that these fantastic days of holiday are only beginning. There is a whole week left to come of my vacation days.

… a birthday party for one of the Grammas …

… a game of golf with Ray and the neighbors – to be followed the next week with our foursome in a golf tournament …

… and more walks – and more barbeques - and more swimming.

And more pool.

Perhaps even a Tigers baseball game at Comerica Park.

And, of course, no doubt each of those days will again evolve into more boisterous nights around the patio table.

Should the neighbors call the authorities to complain of the noise - I can see the scene now. Two young officers sauntering into the back yard by the side arbor gate.

"We've had some complaints …" would say the young rookie.

"Ahh good to see yer lads … what'll ya have…" will say Ray.

"Oh nothing thanks … you see we had a complaint …" would insist the senior officer.

"Well who would complain?" I would ask from the corner?

"Oh my …", would say one of the neighbors now sitting at the table enjoying the fellowship, "I'm afraid that was me. But that was some time ago, before I knew …"

Ray would appear then with a pair of cold drinks for the Good Constables, and hand one to each with a smile and a wink.

"So where are you folks from anyway?" would ask the young rookie.

And around four in the morning, the little radio on the one constable's radio pinned to his chest would blurt out the command "please report your status!"

"err … Roger that, we are just leaving the scene of a reported disturbance .. a false alarm" …

"So are we on for fishing on Friday then Ray?"

"That would be grand Stevie…"
And the Good Constables would honk a goodbye as they drove away – flashing the lights on top of the squad car to show off.

Hmmm.

I am so tired this morning.

But times like these are rare and far between. I can sleep when the holiday is over.

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