It’s March 15, two days before St. Patrick’s Day – A day with hundreds of memories attached to it for me. I promised Irish bread to my co-workers in the morning. I don’t feel like making it. It’s a LOT of work this late at night.
Oh, how my Dad loved Irish bread – Really called, “Bonach,” which I am likely spelling wrong, but it’s the Gaelic word for the bread that my grandmother made back in Antigonish, Nova Scotia – A staple in the house around this time of year.
Today was also the St. Patrick’s Day parade down in Corktown. I have many years of memories as a child, and again as an adult, walking AND dancing in the parade, and performing at the Gaelic League in Detroit. And years and years of traveling from event to event on March 17 to perform. Oh, how I LOVED to dance…..
Today as I readied myself to drive to Detroit to see Natalie MacMaster in concert with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, all of my memories came flooding back. And never, ever did I expect for my eyes to well up with tears or the lump in my throat to almost be unbearable, as when Natalie began playing waltzes and strathspeys, jigs, and reels…..
Oh my GOD! how I miss my Dad…..
Our house ALWAYS had fiddle music playing. Dad was always “tuning” in the kitchen. Still, to this day, that music does something to every muscle fiber in my feet and legs….
Dad and I would drive to his doctor appointments playing Cape Breton fiddle music, and not realize until we were three exits past our destination that we were a wee bit too “into the music.”
Oh, how many times Dad would bounce Rory or Ian on his knee to a “tune” and talk about “Cookie Johnny” playing the fiddle and wishing he was around to “put some rosin on the bow!”
I miss my blue velvet dance costume. (Actually, I still have it. I just miss it FITTING ME!) I miss how comfortable hard shoes felt when I could finally take my gillies off after a few soft shoe reels and jigs. And how good the gillies felt when we took off our hard shoes after a hornpipe or two. Oh, and I missss more than ever, pounding out a good hard treble jig, or joining a line of dancers in a treble reel……..
Did you know – Dad was tapping his foot, crossed over his knee, to Troy MacGillavray and Natalie MacMaster fiddle music just hours before he passed away? True story!
I don’t know. I really, really don’t know if I would have gone to the concert today, had I known it would break my heart. It was the ending to a day already speckled with little memories, and tonight as I get ready for bed, I just really, really miss my Dad. Yup, I’m almost 52 years old, and I miss my Dad.
It’s in my blood. I can’t help it. I’m a “Peter Little Alan” from Antigonish, Nova Scotia, and fiddle music, and Irish dancing is in my blood. My back has bulging disks and arthritis, my right knee has torn lateral and medial menisci, and the only reason I know how to spell that correctly is because aside from being a (long ago) Irish dancer, the other talent God gave me was to spell words correctly. My brother and sister got all the brains. I got the dancer’s legs, the lousy posture in my old age, and the ability to spell correctly – at least most of the time.
Natalie’s mom, Minnie, sent me an email the morning my Dad died. It said that all of Dad’s favorite fiddlers would be at the Pearly Gates to meet him, playing his favorite tunes. I really hope that’s true. And I hope he’s “tuning” and eating heavenly Irish bread. I hope he has the same Nova Scotia sense of humor that no one gets, except people from Nova Scotia. And I hope some day my legs and my back work again so that I can dance in heaven with Dad to a good fiddle tune. I am really looking forward to that.
The photo below has its greatest significance in that, my Mom, Dad, brother, and sister and I probably ate about 900 bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwiches in that restaurant over the course of our lives 😉 And once, my sister “accidentally” purchased a pack of Camel cigarettes there! 😉
Miss you Dad 🙁
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