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Lloyd Waters: Is maith an scealai an aimsir

March 17, 2013|By LLOYD WATERS

“Time is a good storyteller” is the Irish translation of this column’s headline.

As Saint Patrick’s Day arrives, I am always apt to review a few ancient Irish proverbs. When I look back on my life, I find that there have been many interesting encounters with special people and a multitude of fond stories along the way from far away places.

I’ve also discovered somewhere in my distant past that there is nothing like a good story where editing takes a back seat to reality.

My Saint Patrick’s Day will be spent reflecting on some of my Irish ancestors; my favorite movie of “Darby O’Gill and the Little People;” and a glass of stout to toast all the Irish kin wherever they might be.

If you happen to have a little Irish tint of green in your blood, you know that our Irish neighbors always occupy a special place in one’s heart.

I would also be remiss in my storytelling if I failed to provide you with some Irish wit and wisdom.

Winston Churchill was not as enthusiastic about the Irish as I. He summed them up this way: “We have always found the Irish a bit odd. They refuse to be English.”  

I suspect everyone should take some pride in their own heritage as Sir Winston’s line reminds us, but I suppose the Irish have, too, found a little peculiarity in everyone else.

Bendan Behan offered his own observation of our ancestry: “It’s not that the Irish are cynical. It’s simply that they have a wonderful lack of respect for everything and everybody.”

I’m not sure Behan’s evaluation is absolutely correct, but I will include it for you serious debaters.

History suggests the Irish are fine connoisseurs of their brew.

In “Darby O’Gill and the Little People,” one of my favorite parts of the movie is when Darby and King Bryan (of the leprechauns) compete in making up lyrics for the “Wishing Song” while creating a rhyme to each line as they share a round or two of Darby’s homemade recipe.

That’s actually how Darby captured the mischievous king of the little people.

It’s a humorous part of the story that reminds me of an old Irish saying: “An Irishman is never drunk as long as he can hold onto one blade of grass to keep from falling off the earth.”

The Irish have given us some sound advice on babbling: “Who gossips with you will gossip of you.”

Some wisdom on one’s security prowess has served me well in my life’s profession: “Never bolt your door with a boiled carrot.”

And I have to admit to you that women have sometimes presented the Irish men with some serious challenges: “There are only three kinds of Irish men who can’t understand women — young men, old men, and men of middle age.”

I’m often reminded of that one.

The Irish have offered some fine advice on American dollars: “A fool’s money is not long in his pocket.” Maybe our political friends can learn a lesson or two from that one.

“You may as well give cherries to a pig as advice to a fool.” Then again, maybe not.

What might the Irish say of our recent contribution to the Egyptian government? “Stupidity is sending the goose on a mission to the fox’s den.”

And, sometimes, I get a little excited when I think my columns are edited too much and I think of some of those Irish curses like: “May you be afflicted with an itch and no nails to scratch it.” But then my Irish meekness returns and forgiveness is offered.

And finally an Irish blessing for my readers:

“May luck be your companion; may friends stand by your side; may history remind us all; Of Ireland’s faith and pride; may God bless you with happiness; and may love and faith abide.”

Lloyd “Pete” Waters is a Sharpsburg resident who writes for The Herald-Mail.



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