Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Sixth Letter

Dearest Ireland,

They say that love is blind.  When I awake each day, I snuggle into the tender embrace of your music, your history, your landscapes, etc.,  feeling your goodness and your devotion.  But we both know that you have a dark side. My emerald-colored glasses can only illuminate you for so long and maybe now's the  time for a reality check.

Where the heck is the bacon?  There's something on the shelf in the grocery store labeled "bacon", and I've ordered it off breakfast menus in several restaurants.  But we both know THAT'S NOT BACON! IT'S HAM!  HAM IS NOT BACON! How could you be so agricultural, claim to have 1.5 million pigs, and not know about bacon? You Oscar Meyer bacon.


I didn't eat bacon every day at home. I neglected it, sometimes ignored it, bought into the lie that it was bad for me and at times, renounced it.  Now I feel nothing but remorse for my disrespect. I miss it terribly.

 I didn't realize how much until last Friday when I was in Kinsale with Doc's sister and her family. We were getting a bite to eat at a local cafe. Glaring at me from the menu was a word I haven't seen associated with bacon in all my days in Ireland......."CRISPY"!  OMG...BLT!  I told the waiter I wouldn't complain if it was served black.

 And it was glorious...and BIG. I took home half and had it for supper but saved a few crispy pieces for breakfast the next day. I swear I'll never take bacon for granted again. And I could also do with a few other culinary commodities.  It seems grits are to Irish people what leprechauns are to Americans. You can think about that.  Shame on you, Ireland, for causing me this anguish.
Beautiful, but no Vitamin D

And while we're getting real, let's talk weather. I know you won my heart under false pretenses. When I first came here last summer, you presented just a few puffy clouds and the air was warm. I frolicked around outdoors for two solid weeks and hardly needed a jacket. That was some kind of hoax but I'm not sure how you pulled it off.

Now I see you have mostly dreary, overcast skies and it rains almost daily. The weather lady on TV is burning out on ways to convey the obvious and inevitable. She says things like, "Light sprinkles this morning, followed by rain and then some drizzle with scattered showers afterwards followed by light mist and heavy sprinkles, with a storm later and then rain on the way." You know I'm not exaggerating. Whenever I meet someone new and say I'm from Florida, they immediately ask, "Could you bring us some sunshine?" (followed by, "What's with Donald Trump?" but we'll have to discuss that later).

And the gloomy weather seems magnified when I'm out on the road. I don't dare try to drive here. Besides having everything backwards, the streets are narrow and curvy with few shoulders, and the speeds are outrageous.  I'm amazed there aren't more collisions. Sometimes I just have to close my eyes and pray that the car coming towards us has lost its wing mirror in an earlier crash so we'll have room to squeeze by.

And can you tell me why people park their cars on the sidewalk?  That's just wrong.

How are you supposed to get around this?
Speaking of speed.....what's with the talking?  I'm from the South and we speak slowly even by American standards.  Joining in an Irish conversation is like trying to get out on the road in downtown Dublin. As words are whizzing past,  you wait for an opening then it's pedal to the metal to cruise into the flow.  I'm getting the hang of it though and doing quite well, I think.

At least I'm no longer standing on the precarious comment curb with my thumb out.  You can't be known if you don't put in your two cents worth, right?   And in the last five weeks I have had some wonderfully stimulating conversations about everything from politics and education to fashion and Downton Abbey. It must be where God placed you....right in the middle of the world. The Irish seem to know what's going on everywhere and have opinions about it all.

And so, dear Ireland, we may not be a match made in heaven. But close.

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