Ceile-No Troubles Here

Tonight we had a traditional Irish night.   What a grand night it was.  And I don’t know how to do it justice here.  I don’t think I can tell you how powerful a night it was.  So I’ll start with the beginning of the end of the night.

Our hostess was sitting at her piano.  AC was sitting next to me.  Our hostess began to play and sing.  I am not muscially talented in any way, but if I had to explain  it  I would say her singing voice was “high”, as opposed to deep.  Which are the only two descriptions I can explain and know what I mean.  She played my most  favorite song ever “Amazing Grace”.  I started to cry.  I don’t know why.  Tears just filled my eyes unexpectedly.    AC and I sang along very softly .  I thought to myself, how fortunate am I to be sitting in Northern Ireland with a gracious hostess who was playing the piano for us and singing in her Irish lilt my all time most  favorite song.  Which made me miss Grace O’Malley who is my newest favorite Amazing Grace.   AC asked her what her favorite song was.   She told me to stand  next to her so I could read the words and she said “it’s a sad song”.   It was sadly beautiful.  The tears stayed.    She was singing good bye to her mother and asking her savior to tell her mother she would join her soon.   AC and I looked at one another.   My heart was so incredibly full.   AC asked her to wait and she ran to get UT and David and our host.  They joined us.

It only got better.

I had moved to the couch behind Hostess when she told UT to sing with her.  She started to play and sing Amazing Grace again.  I was sitting looking up at my uncle who (to me) so resembles my father and wa tched his face transform as he sang what AC said was his favorite song.   It seemed so natural for me to be sitting in the home of these Irish farmers with my family, singing songs, with Irish accents.

There was a comfort and ease among the 6 of us.  It was the kind of night I would hope to relive many times over.  But the kind of night you could never recreate.

We talked of our homes and our jobs and our families.  Worlds apart and so very much the same.

They provided us a meal.  They opened their home.  They shared their lives with us.  The kind of gifts that you can’t ask for.    You can’t expect.  You can not buy.   Yet the value….I can not tell you how much I value this now memory.

At one point I told hostess it is amazing to me that at any time there could be someone out in this world, far far far away, thinking of you.  And how wonderful that should make us feel.  I told her I would be thinking of them.

I will think of her snow white lovely hair.  His one dimple in his left cheek.  I will hear her singing to me for the rest of my life.  I will see UT’s face as he leaned in to sing Amazing Grace.  I will see AC’s face as we look at one another in the sitting room with the Irish hostess happily singing to us.   I will hear David talking to Host about the farming worlds here and ‘back home’.

The house held no television.  No computer.

It was a traditional Irish home.  Where tradition is sharing, talking, laughing and singing.

I know when you read this you may think ‘oh that’s nice’.  And it was.  But when I read this I will be transported to a night I can picture and feel.  I remember the feeling that came over me when Hostess sang.  When UT sang with her.  The joy I felt at Host teasing me about my pronunciation of anything Irish.  The teasing made it more natural, more fun, and made me know I was welcome.    We shared our lives and it was a joyous barter.

It was a grand night indeed.