Happy St. Patrick’s Day

Shamrocks and memories
Posted:  Friday, March 17, 2017 - 11:30am

I gave my Irish-American mother a tiny pot of shamrocks last St. Patrick’s day. I picked them up at a grocery store and they sat on her kitchen table. She loved the sentiment. My mother loves being Irish, loves her heritage, and she loves flowers. She isn’t one for watering, but then she is 89 years old, and the gardening and watering fall to someone else.

This tough little plant stood stout for about a month despite an erratic hydration schedule and it won my heart. I took it home and replanted it. I hadn't much hope that it would thrive, let alone flourish, but it did, and it sits in my bedroom window now, sprouting wild on a constant basis. I turn it, occasionally, to give it exercise and the stalks rise and turn toward the warmth.

This morning, the sun filtered its way through the leaves and cast a warm green glow throughout the room. I took some photos with my little Canon ELPH, hoping to capture the sweetness of the moment.

My mother, whose name is Frances, will get a card from her sister, Mary, who lives in Gorham. It is the same St. Patrick's Day card they have passed back and forth for about 20 years. There were five Callan siblings. My mother, the oldest, and Mary, next to youngest, are the only ones left. The boys, Dick, Pat, and Mike, are somewhere else together, wreaking havoc and singing the chorus to “When Irish Eyes are Smiling.” We sang it at my Uncle Mike's funeral, and realized we didn't know the tune to the verses, nor did we know the words. We giggled as we stumbled along. We know about humor, and we know about toughness, and we know where we came from.

My grandfather hailed from Oughterard, County Galway. Millions of people hailed from Ireland. They never got over leaving it, but it was impossible to return. Like immigrants uprooted from their homes all over the world, they learned to grow wherever they were planted, like the sturdy plant with its trinity of leaves that so had my heart this morning.

Eírin go Brách.