A friend came to visit last week. It was, as the Irish would say, a “flying visit”. He came in on Wednesday and went out on Friday.
I showed him all that Dingle has to offer in the bleak misty mid-winter: a Dingle Distillery tour; a trip around the peninsula admiring the sites and clambering over and around ancient sundials, standing stones, and roofless churches a thousand years old; and, of course, a couple of whiskeys in Dick Mack’s and some Guinness stew in a pub afterward. Then we returned to our home and sat in front of a warm fire drinking more whiskey and solving all of the world’s problems.
We hadn’t seen each other since we graduated from high school fifty-one years ago, but the conversation continued as if one of us had simply left the room for a few minutes, and then returned.
On Saturday night we went to a friend’s house for her annual Christmas party. Her large square table was groaning from the weight of cheeses, chicken bites, mini-pizzas, and cookies and cakes. The chairs were pushed back against the walls. Christmas decorations covered every surface. And the kitchen and lounge were crammed with locals and blow-ins from the states and the U.K., all busily chatting away and wishing each other “Happy Christmas”. Some we knew already and were friends with and some, I suspect, will become friends.
On Sunday, we ran into town for the last-minute shopping. There was a roast to pick up from Jerry, whose counters and coolers were piled high with turkeys and geese and ducks and dry-aged rib roasts. Then, next door to the green grocers for potatoes and carrots and sprouts on the stalk. We stopped at Mark’s cheese shop for a nice cheddar and a bottle of wine to accompany the roast, and at Grainne’s for a few more baubles to decorate the house. And, of course, there are always needed essentials from SuperValu, where we try to get in Joan’s checkout line so we can have a chat as she rings up our purchases. Everywhere there are smiles, handshakes, and cries of “Happy Christmas”.
I thought about this as we sat in front of the fire last night. We have been blessed with good friends wherever we have lived. Some friends we see often, some only occasionally, and some after fifty years, but all have enriched our lives.
Thank you to all of our friends, wherever you may be.
Jim and Sara