Childhood Memories: The Luck of the Irish

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I remember, years ago, when my brother was little, good things seemed to happen to him. (He once won a Beetlejuice contest and we all got a free trip to Hollywood, though it was a real downer when my parents went trolling for celebrity headstones).

I remember expecting to be picked up in a limousine, but an old man that reminded me of Alfred from the Batman show came for us in a Lincoln, holding up a sign that said Brooks. (Our name was Booker, which I never liked because kids would replace the k with a g.)

So yes, Kel (then Kelly), was lucky, and I would get so sick of my parents saying he had “the luck of the Irish,” to which I would exclaim, “He’s not Irish!”

Well, many years later, my parents would send their spit to have their DNA tested and so it turned out, he was.

We were.

And I am so glad that is something my mom got to do before she passed away, even though Dad got on her nerves with all his lamenting that she didn’t have any Jewish blood (which he though “prestigious”).

Dad, however, was thrilled when he found out he was one-third Scandinavian, or “Viking” (as he calls it). I’d considered getting him one of those helmets with the horns on it, though I could’ve sworn he was French, being so passive.

But even though DNA tells us where we came from, what we’re made of, and sometimes, where we’ve been (outer space in Scott Kelly’s case, for example), it doesn’t tell us where we’re going.

That is the story we get to write.

#Fiction Friday: #Micropoetry from the Book

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From Annie McCarrick to Laurie Nolan,
my mother had redefined herself,
though I had to wonder–
was the redefinition a stripping off
of a mask,
or was it an unveiling?

David had freed Mother from the music
her fingers had made,
& had passed that which she had loathed
to the daughter who danced to it.

The genesis of my life:
My fifth year–
when David came.
The exodus–
the year the elders came.
The revelation–
when I came the first time.

As a Catholic,
God was my Father,
& that was enough.
As a Mormon,
I began to wonder about
my earthly father,
the concept of a
Heavenly Mother
strange & wonderful
to me.

David was Welsh,
without a pinch of Irish in him;
I was an Irish trio—
Northern, Scots, & Black;
but Caitlin?
She was Jaunty O’ St. Mick.

#Micropoetry Monday: Family Dynamics

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When they did their DNA,
Dad traded in his wooden shoes
for a Viking helmet,
but Mom could not trade in
her Black Irish hair
for the auburn that could have been hers
if she’d been born sooner.

His siblings and cousins had been close
when they were children,
but when the patriarch,
who said family was everything,
passed away,
it proved that he was the everything
that had held the family together.

Dad wore many uniforms,
Mom wore many hats,
but as for me & my brother,
we wore many masks.

When the Irish Catholic met the Roman Catholic,
they had Irish potato gnocchi
& spaghetti with soda bread.
They made it work because,
like many others,
they were all trying to get to the same place—
a gastronomical heaven.

She’d been an idealist before she’d married,
seeing a life of in-laws that were like blood &
double dating with mutual friends,
but when the honeymoon rose again,
his love was all that shone.