Monday, November 03, 2008

I Still Miss Ireland

I miss the green rolling hills, the narrow country lanes with stone houses well weathered, yet looking good and hundreds of years older than anything here. I miss the flowing gorgeous language spoken in the streets and in the pubs. I miss it dearly. It feels like home, the place I love, where I belong.

Of course, I've never actually been there.

My blood has, certainly. Going by my last name or my looks, one might never guess that I am Irish. Many suspect German, possibly because of my general inclination toward clinical severity and robotic efficiency -- oops, have I just stereotyped all you Germans out there? Sorry. I've done worse. Probably will again, though I'll try not to. Anyway...

I remember there were times as a teenager that I imagined I must have some Jewish ancestry somewhere back there; but alas, in that regard I finally realized I was no more than a pathetic wannabe. I'm not German. I'm not Jewish. My father's name, I'd been told, is Slovak. A few years ago someone told my father that the name is possibly Bohemian. I'm guessing there was a bit of border crossing going on, resulting in a fair degree of ethnic ambiguity.

So what am I? My sarcastic response is "Earth Creature." Then there is "Tool-Using Hominid," and the rambling "I'm Unique, Like Everyone Else."

But when pressed for a serious answer, there is no doubt. I am an Irish American. A Catholic Irish American -- not that there is anything wrong with them thar Protestants, or that I'm such a good Catholic; but as an ethnic designation, that is what I am. In my blood and in my soul I am Irish, and I can't help but love and miss my home island. And to those of you reading this who have actually lived their entire lives in Ireland and are rolling your eyes in reaction to my tedious bloviation, I hope you'll find it in your heart to get over it already. I'm Irish. I can't change that and I don't want to. My mother always drove that fact into my siblings and me, but she didn't need to. I can't help but be Irish, I can't help but know it and I can't help but love Ireland. That love does not fade. I may never visit, but I will always miss Ireland.