“So when someone asks you today if you are Irish, what will you say?”
“I will say, yes, and my great-great-great-great-grandparents died there.”
“Well, they lived there. That’s what we’re focusing on.”
“And I have Irish blood. Even though that’s gross.”
“Do you know what it means to have Irish blood?”
“No. It’s gross.”
“Well, there’s some blood inside you that God used to make you. It’s my blood, and I have Irish relatives, and so you have some of that Irish blood in you.”
“Your blood. Is. In me.” He shuddered.
“It’s only a little.”
He shuddered again.
“Anyway, I don’t think you’re right, Mommy. God makes people from dirt.”
“Well, yes, he made the first person from dirt. But after the first person, then he… had a few more options. Let’s see. what would the Irish say right now. They were big on blessings.”
I try to think of one on the fly, right here at the kitchen table.
“Let the wind be at your back, and the sky over your head. And may good things be under your feet. And may shamrocks and leprechauns follow you all the days of you life.”
He glances at me. The same look I gave my mom thirty years ago when we were having these conversations. And still I persist, just as my mom persisted.
“Do you want me to sing some Irish songs for you this morning?”
“No. No, thanks, I mean.”
That’s actually a good thing because the only ones I know were on my grandma’s jukebox in the basement. And it’s possible that I’ve woven some non-Irish ditties into my mental collection. So I may not be entirely reliable on Irish music history.
Another boy is putting on his shoes, and he finds a wayward wasp flying in the room even though it’s only barely warm enough for them to want to come out and I think they’ve been tricked as we all are by the charms of early spring.
“Wasp! WASP!” He yells.
“Wasp? A White AngloSaxon Protestant? Well, how appropriate on this day – and I hope he’s wearing orange!” I crack myself up. All by myself.
“So, today when people talk about being Irish…”
“I’ll tell them your gross blood is in me.”