Tomorrow is St. Paddy’s day, which I love for a variety of reasons –
First, I like green and I look good in green, so I prefer this holiday over, say, Halloween, because I personally believe no one should ever have to wear orange.
Ireland is one of the few locations abroad I left on my bucket list when I discovered I don’t really like to fly anymore and I’m sure I’m not up to the task of hiking through a snake infested jungle to see some pyramid – or brave unstable political situations to see another pyramid on a different continent.
I think, for snake-free Ireland (yes, it’s true, St. Paddy did that, ya know) I could gird my loins and make the flight.
But the approaching holiday also reminds me of sad times. So if you’re in high spirits and don’t want that to stop – quit reading – – like now.
If you’re not in high spirits and trying to figure out how to make it through yet another holiday, I suggest you listen to some music that uplifts – gather with friends who understand and take note that the Irish have sung and danced through many a dark time in their heritage and perhaps, you can too, if only for one day.
“Maureen”, by Jim Reeves, was one of my favorite songs growing up. I was raised by a singing, guitar playing dad, a singing mom and harmonizing aunts who visited – which means I knew a lot of the ‘old’ songs by the time I became an adult.
For reasons known only to the gods, each of my off-spring latched on to one favorite, and only one, of the many songs I sang to them in the wee hours of the night.
For the youngest, “The Lawman” by Billy Walker was it. Yes I sang the sad saga of one brother having to do to his duty and hunt down his sibling for killing a marshal in grief over his wife. You’ve never had people look at you so strangely as when you are walking up and down a hospital hall, holding a two-year old with a high fever and singing about murder, mayhem and the ties that bind in order to soothe him to sleep. It did, and since it worked, I was forgiven for not singing an age appropriate lullaby.
For the oldest, “Maureen.”
These were the songs I sang for years – over and over. They asked for them even when they grew old enough to hook up their own iPods and listen to professionals who knew how to do it right – – the flu, a cold or a broken heart could be fixed by their favorite song.
And I sang Maureen as the life support was removed and my oldest slipped from me to his waiting angel across the sea…
No, I don’t know how I sang it. I knew it had to be done – could feel it in my bones – – but how my voice stayed true – how the notes didn’t fail and the high notes didn’t crack is still a mystery to me. I choose to believe some kindly angel stepped in and helped me out – there are those who claim it to be my best rendition ever – – I couldn’t say, I was only very grateful to be able to sing it for him, one more time.
Alone tonight I dream in my land,
Of an island, far across the sea.
A little bit of Heaven,
They call Ireland
Where an angel waits for me.
My heart ’tis filled with pain.
To be with you and to hold you
In my arms again.
In all my dreams,
I dream of you, Maureen
And the misty, moonlit meadows
And the hills of green.
The hills that heard us whisper
The secrets of our hearts.
The hills that heard us promise
That we would never part.
Someday white sails will gleam
And you’ll know I’m back to stay
Forever more, Maureen.
Five years later, I’m actually able to sing it again without crying – I tried this morning, in honor of St. Paddy’s day and private yearning.
Happy St. Paddy’s day to all those who love, who have lost and who yearn to be reunited – – If you’re Irish, or if only for this one day, you can choose to sing and dance, even from the depths of pain.