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Good Night. Safe Home. March 17, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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NO. I am NOT going to the Holy Ground. (Write on the blackboard 100 times). I’ve had a 12 hour day and more to come this week.

The last little bit of Jameson is gone, and I’ve got a few bottles of Guinness and Altan for company.

When I die, after you leave my marker or scatter my ashes, I don’t ask for a brass band and Didn’t He Ramble. I ask every friend I’ve known (and one I haven’t met yet who can play the fiddle, or at least the penny whistle), to lead everyone away from the sad moment to the party to follow playing this, the one song I’ve heard in fifty plus years that marries sorrow and joy perfectly, that echoes the music of the Acadians whom my German ancestors were assimilated into.

Long ago, halfway into my exile, the Scottish host of The Thistle and Shamrock Fiona Ritche had Micheal Doucet on her show, and pronounced the Acadians the Lost Tribe of the Celtic Race. I felt this on my one visit to Ireland, especially the nights spent in small town inns. And I’ve taken that as license to drink a bit on this day, as I am right now, even though I am but 1/32nd Irish (and thank my sister whose Mormon genealogy, if I can lay hands on it, can give me the name and the county.

(NO. I WILL NOT go &c.)

(Echoes of drunken Welshmen abound in that last statement. But dammit, I shall not go. NO)

If you can talk Doucet into playing my funeral, I’ll promise to arrange for someone to return the ankle bells I drunkenly stole off the stage at the Mardi Gras Party at the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria, VA one long-ago carnival season early in my long exile. If he preceeds me, I will make arrangements for return of the bells myself.

A penny whistle would be just fine. I hear it in my head that way. May this tune carry you safe home tonight is my prayer.

Tommy Bhetty’s Waltz by Altan:

Blarney November 10, 2008

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street.
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I found this picture of your humble narrator kissing the Blarney Stone during our trip to Ireland in ’91, a belated honeymoon not long before Killian was born. (We found out later that Killian was with us the whole trip, pub crawling and all, but I used to like to say that Killian was Our Little Souvenir of Ireland. If Rebecca or Killian read this, I am in so much trouble.

I have it on the best authority (everyone we met that night in the pub some miles away) that this attempt to win the gift of gab was a completely unnecessary exercise on my part. I think that was a compliment. Rounds were bought right after, so I’m pretty sure it was. This is every bit as much fun as it looks to be, especially with a night-three-in-Ireland, pub-crawling-then-up-early-and-on-the road hangover.

My own Irish ancestry is only 1/32nd, but this apparently was just enough to convince my father-in-law I might be acceptable. I think it may have helped when I pointed out that Fiona Riche, host of the nationally-syndicated Celtic music show Thistle and Shamrock, suggested that the Acadians were a lost tribe of the Celtic race. There was a feeling, especially in the smaller towns where we sometimes stayed, deeply akin to the vibe of South Louisiana: music and drink mixing in that particular amalgam known in Ireland as craic, which is best translated as “When the Good Times Roll.”

Oh and the food is excellent. Breakfast is your typical British Isle nastiness of overcooked eggs and bangers and lunch was often a pint and a choice of toasted sandwiches (ham, cheese or mixed?) but dinner was always excellent: usually a tough choice between fabulous fresh lamb and salmon, along with some straight from the garden vegetables all swimming in butter rich sauces.

If you haven’t figured out we are Eirephiles here on Toulouse Street, here’s a bit of one of our favorite’s: Altan. We saw them live at the Celtic Festival in Washington, D.C. in the early nineties. It was pouring rain out and the tent was jammed to standing room only right to the edge. I spent the whole time in the tent with little Killian on my shoulders bouncing to the music while she shrieked with delight. They dedicated a song to the “da dancing with his little daughter on his shoulders in the back” and I was as happy a lad as might be found there that day.