A BIT O THE OLD SOD
Recently TLW (The Little Woman) and I visited a cousin of hers who was in the hospital recuperating from a hip replacement. If you don’t know it, TLW is 100% Irish, and of course, her cousin is too.
Her cousin asked us to bring pictures since we see her every 15 years or so. I took the old laptop and off we went to Flushing, NY, and Mt. Sinai Hospital. We perused through the digital pictures, her cousin started to point out names of people from a memorial service get together for her brother who was killed in Vietnam over 35 years ago. She started to name people and tell stories about this one and that one and I realized it was taking a toll on this lonely Italian. After enough Kathleen Mary’s, and Monica’s were mentioned, a glaze descended across my face, and I went into a stupor.
“Ah, just like a man, he’s not paying attention!” said cousin Maureen to TLW. I missed what she had just said, because I wasn’t paying attention. In my comatose state of enlightenment, I had fallen asleep with my eyes open and my mind shut.
It took me back to sweet Helen, my Mother-in-law. Mom could rattle off her day at the supermarket, meeting Mrs. Murray, or Mrs. O’Farrell or Mrs. Kelly or whoever the Irish lady was. I was always awake for her stories since she knew how to tell them. My Father-in-law however, was in a comatose state of enlightenment, having fallen asleep with HIS eyes opened.
Visiting Maureen in the hospital brought back simpler times, how happy a young couple we were. Our parents were all living, and we connected with our siblings in a different way. The world still stood ahead of us, with our new jobs and careers. We had hopes and dreams of children and everyone was happy. We would gather for the holidays and take comfort in our comfort foods and traditions that defined our families.
Meeting TLW’s family for the first time was surprising. They had the very same values, with the very same problems my family had. It was fun to meet a mirror family like my own, Irish version! I became immediately comfortable with the Irish version of what I was.
Tomorrow, Introducing TLW to the Italians!