Stories Full of Blarney

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“The best blush to use is laughter: It puts roses in your cheeks and in your soul.”    ~Linda Knight 

It has been said kissing a stone can have the effect of giving someone the “gift of gab?” Did you know that?  Could be true, I suppose. After all, Winston Churchill visited the Blarney Stone in 1912 and he became one of best orators ever. 

Do you think there is any validity to the theory? I am not sure. After all, there have been people for hundreds of years who have kissed and vividly told. People have bent over backwards just to get a smooch, and paid a price to do it, too. Yet, they’ve never been to Ireland.. ..

blarney-stone1Case in point:  I have a friend who can talk up a storm, her name is Chatter. She’d tell you herself, back in her wild and crazy years as a college student, “she kissed many stones she’s walked on after a few too many green ales on St. Pattys Day.”  She’d say “she’s conversed face to face with plenty of frogs, too.”  If she tells you  “She got her ‘gift of gab’ from the famous Irish landmark,” it isn’t so. She’s always been full of Blarney.”

Her Irish heritage, has given her  genes to enjoy being the life of the party and be resilient too. She can find the humor in  all situations, including health issues.  God blessed me with her friendship, she’s one of my dearest friends.  In my heart of hearts, I hope some day, I get to visit Ireland with her to fulfill one of our wishes and start a new chapter, called Active Retirement! Then we will have even more stories to tell about our forty plus years of friendship, filled with laughter.

As an early St. Patty’s Day greeting, I’d like to send out blessings to all my friends and family.

I-rish you a very nice place to live,
I-rish God’s greatest gifts he’ll give.
I-rish you health, and wealth, and more–
I-rish your smilin’ face were at my door! ~ unknown


May the luck of the Irish be with you today, and every day! Peace, love and a whole Lot more!

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Gift of an Irishman

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 “These things, I warmly wish for you- Someone to love, some work to do,
A bit of o’ sun, a bit o’ cheer. And a guardian angel always near
.”~ Irish Blessing 

Are you wearing the green today? On this St. Patty’s Day, as I have for the past 35 years, my shamrock pin is placed over my heart on my lapel. The shamrock pin was given to me as a gift from my Irish in-laws. Just before I met my mother-in law and father in-law, they had taken a trip to Ireland and had brought the shamrock pin back as a souvenir. The gift of the shamrock, to me, represented a fulfilling sign of approval – I had passed “the test!”

My in-laws are no longer on this earth. Every March 17th I think, with appreciation, about their gift of the four leaf clover and what it represented to them and to me:

  • Faith – A chance to learn a little about their beliefs. My in-laws had a strong faith in the Catholic Church, as many Irish do.
  • Love – We reciprocated plenty of that. From day one they accepted me unconditionally as the daughter they never had.
  • Hope – My in-laws hope was for an enduring marriage for their son. When we announced the arrival of the greatest gift of all, the birth of a little leprechaun, my in-laws really danced an Irish jig!
  • Luck. As luck would have it, my relationship to my in-laws was nothing but wonderful. I don’t have a single “I Hate my In-Laws” story or joke to tell. 

There is a little sadness in this day for me. Six months after our “little leprechaun” was born, my father-in-law passed away. Our son never got to know his Grandfather Leonard. When he asks what his grandfather Leonard was like, I tell him “he gave me the gift of a shamrock and all that it represents.”

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all of you Irish men and Irish ladies! Drink a little green beer, dance a little Irish jig, listen to award-winning Irish independent recording star Mary Black. Her music has taken America and other countries by storm! Enjoy this day of celebration of Irish heritage.

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Second Encounters

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We all live under the same sky, but we don’t all have the same horizon”         ~ Konrad Adenauer

Arts in the Parks was one of the featured events this past weekend in Steamboat Springs, CO.  Judging by the attendance, I would say it was a great success. I enjoyed it all! 

I was so happy to see the return of photographer, Kenny Tong! Once again, in my opinion, his photography was a real standout! It seems to me, his images are of places in China, where no ordinary man walks. It is no wonder that his forays into the hidden paradises of China, to capture exquisite scenery, last 2-3 months each year. 

This year at Arts in the Park, I had my son Marc, a recent film student graduate by my side.  Kenny’s professional life started in the film industry. He was able to share some of his experiences with my son, and some of the reasons why he traded in his craft of filmmaking for a career in still photography, which he finds so fulfilling. 

Keep up the great work, Kenny. I was glad to see on the Events calendar of your website that you will be sharing your art with the communities of Boulder and Carbondale, Colorado over the next few weeks. 

Thanks for the well wishes to Marc, as he ponders what is ahead on the horizon for him and as he establishes his life as a filmmaker.


 Photo – Marc in Ireland.

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Top of the Morn’ – My Beloved!


May you always have walls for the winds, a roof for the rain, tea beside a fire. Laughter to cheer you, those you love near you, and all your heart might desire ~ Irish prayer

How could I ever forget and make a statement to all of you, a few months ago, in my blog writing that my Uncle  John was the only known published author that I knew of in my family? That is so not right!!

From the time I was a little girl, my Dad would sing to us four kids in his oh so awful voice, the words of a song called Kathleen Mavourneen. And now, his eight grandchildren have to suffer through it! It has gotten to the point that we roll our eyes, we grin, we outright laugh when he starts in. He sings the song to remind us of his and our family roots. You see, Frederick Crouch is his namesake and his great-great-great Grandfather. Professor Crouch composed the song Kathleen Mavourneen in 1837. “Mavoureen” is a term of endearment derived from  the Irish Gaelic mo mhuirnin meaning “my beloved.”

Irish soprano Catherine Hayes (1818-1861) was the first Irish woman to sing at La Scala in Milan. She learned the song Kathleen Mavourneen and it became her signature tune during concerts. She, in fact, sang it for Queen Victoria and over 500 royal guests at Buckingham Palace in June 1849. The song, gained popularity with American audiences as a result of the extensive touring of Catherine Hayes.

The song became a popular camp-fire song during the Civil War period and in fact, it plays a prominent role in Michael Shaara’s historical novel the Killer Angels and it’s film adaptation Gettysburg. 

I have never heard the song sung in it’s entirety, only a  few verses in my Dad’s less than outstanding rendition. Perhaps, some day, I will hear the song in a more memorable voice that can do it justice but until then, it is just a family joke, every time my Dad starts in.

Top of the morning to my beloved family! Wish we could all  be together, share a dinner of corned beef and cabbage. Who would bring the green beer? Erin? Kyle? Kara? Devon? Marc Ryan? Holly? Taylor? Maggie – no definitely not Maggie!

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