We’re all Irish on St. Patrick’s Day…

first_imgThe story of Katie Killane.I have a love of the beach and restoring old beach homes, a passion for design and decorating, the gift of gab, an obsession with things being exactly even (just ask my contractor), and a newly found sense of accomplishment in writing and telling a short story. This weekend in the cramped storage room of Mrs. Hoover’s house, I stumbled across a box with an odd label.  Hastily written in my handwriting was the following note: “things we keep moving and never unpacking.”  The time was here, and the treasure I unearthed inside was a message from my Pop. I understood where one of my personality traits came from, his love of writing a short story was passed on to me. Gently wrapped to preserve the crisp pages I found a pristine copy of his collection of short stories. As St. Patrick’s Day approaches the story of “Katie Killane” jumped off of his pages, because no matter our nationality somehow we all become Irish on March 17th.  The following is an excerpt from his book, “Tales of a Landlocked Sailor” by Joseph E. Crowley.“When many Irish immigrants came to this country, they brought with them not only their Catholic faith but also certain other beliefs and customs. I heard about some of them, but it was difficult to get anyone to talk about them.One I remember mandated that a man- not a woman- should be the first to enter the house after midnight on the first day of the New Year.Another detailed the greeting one should make upon entering a room where there was more than one person. One should say, “God bless all here” or “Hello everybody” or a similar all- inclusive greeting.  Naming the people in the room could lead to omitting someone and that person would suffer dire consequences if that happened.  This was called “the overlooks.”Another was called “Praying Prayers.” Believing that vengeance was the Lord’s (and not the injured person’s), praying prayers was an appeal to Him to right a wrong.  Stated another way, it was a crime that cried to Heaven for vengeance.And that brings us to Katie Killane. Katie was an elderly gray haired woman with an angelic face, a soft voice, and a gentle manner.  She was our cousin, but I’m not sure if that means she was a blood relative.  Among the Irish of those days, kinship was based on a number factors in addition to blood.  Where one came from in Ireland, who was in a certain group, who was in the same parish, who had the same friends or enemies- all these were almost as important as blood in determining kinship- or “friendshaft.”Long before I met her- when she was younger- she had a dispute with a banker over money. Katie was sure the banker had cheated her; he insisted he had not.  When it became clear that the dispute could not be settled, Katie said to him, “You’re walking on me now but within a year, I’ll walk on you.” I doubt that the banker was impressed.About nine months later, the banker, a young man who had always been in good health, suddenly became ill. The doctors could not diagnose the disease, let alone treat it.  In a week he was dead, the cause of the death was never determined.Katie went to the funeral and then to the cemetery. She lingered after when the mourners left and waited patiently for the grave to be filled in.  When it was, and the gravediggers had left, Katie walked on the grave.” For the love of the Irish… Happy St. Patrick’s Day. Always tell your stories.For information on downsizing, organization, or redesigning your space Maureen can be reached @ [email protected]last_img read more