Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving: Everything Happens for a Reason

It’s been said that everything happens for a reason.

It’s also been said that everything happens in its time.

And, in my experience, while this may or may not be true, these things are often said by people who may or may not owe you money...and the guy down the street whose kid just put a hockey puck through your driver’s side window.

But since today we’re celebrating our annual day of Thanksgiving, which means I’m feeling the effects of an overabundance of abundance—not to mention tryptophan—I’m inclined to take the less cynical view—for once—and think: Yeah, things do happen for a reason and in their own time.

And who can’t use a little optimism these days, given all the things in the world we can’t control...which includes standing on an endless line in the middle of a box store of your choice hoping to score one of the last 900 inch HDTVs going for $29.99...even before you use your 30% off coupon!

This past summer I told you about our impending trip to the Emerald Isle to search for visit the Irish half of my ancestral roots and the old homestead where my Gramps, Sargent Jim Moloney of the P.C.P.D—circa 1920s thru 1950s—grew up in a rather large family that resulted in nearly a couple of hundred descendants, scattered all over the world.

And back in June most of those descendants actually “descended” on the town of Loughrea, County Galway to re-connect, and in many cases, myself included, actually connect for the very first time.

I admit to having experienced a little uneasiness over all of this as I really didn’t know what to expect going into Moloney Reunion Weekend, 2015. 

Z and I, along with a handful of local, New Jersey cousins, had toured the rolling, Celtic country side for most of the week previous to the gathering and had already become accustomed to the friendly ways of its people.

Be it in the shops, city streets, pubs, or even a small country garden, the Irish have nary a bad word to say about least not to their face, or in a manner you’d take the wrong way, at least not for several hours until you’ve had a chance to decipher their meaning.

So I was expecting a friendly crowd when we arrived at the hotel, but what I was not expecting was the absolute warmth and welcoming faces of “family” that enveloped us as we waded through just the lobby of the hotel.  Barely had I put down my suitcases that I was being greeted by this cousin and that, who then introduced me to that cousin and this, none of whom I’d ever laid eyes on before yet felt as comfortable with as if we’d been connected for decades. 

 And I suppose, in a way, we all were, even though we inhabited opposite shores of the Atlantic, even though we never crossed paths, not even in the night.


But the home grown Irish—unlike me, who up to now thought the world began in New York and ended in California, and considered his heritage to consist merely of a surname, constantly misspelled—have a deep sense of history, of their nation and especially their families.

Within minutes I heard stories and legends of my gramps and great gramps, uncles and great uncles...even a few concerning the family cow.

Needless to say, much of the weekend involved a lot Guinness, a lot of food and of course a lot of laughs. 

Music and song was provided by many talented family members whose musical DNA I am pleased to acknowledge obviously resides within, as I have been known to download and stream any number of songs from iTunes, on demand, myself.

No kidding....

Of course the highlight of the weekend, I mean other than the fresh Guinness on tap, was, as I mentioned earlier, the trip out to the family homestead, just a wee bit up the road, in the small farming town of Ross.

There, a large number of us who had never been, along with those who had but wanted to take it all in, right along with us, walked the property and explored the history that resided in this 19th century thatched roof cottage. The place where the Moloney’s of Ross, took their first breaths, threw their first stone, found warmth by their first peat fire and grew to be the men and women that would give birth to the rest of us standing in front of that simple farm house, connecting us together, for the first time, but certainly not the last.

And speaking of stones, I made it a point before I began this excursion to go to my Grandad’s old home, here in town, on Rollhaus Place, to retrieve a stone from the front yard he so carefully tended up until his death in 1964.  I carried that stone across the sea and tucked it away in the foundation of his childhood home, a home he loved but never had a chance to return...until, now.

Now, in some small token, I like to think he has.

And these are the things I'm thinking about this Thanksgiving. We may not have discovered any Leprechauns...but we did discover my home and family across the sea....

Everything happens for a reason, and in its time.

Thanks to Cousin-in-Law Steve Brown for the majority of the great pics...and the rest of the cousins, whose great photos I stole as well....

Related: In Search of Leprechauns

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  1. A never to be forgotten look into the past. Plus a joyful present. I loved all the pictures, and the story of the stone is wonderful. You carried it across the Atlantic, no doubt surprising airport security. Reminds me of my cousin taking her dad's ashes to St. Martin Island.

    1. Thanks Joan...I appreciate it as always! Have a great day. I hope you're not stuck with the cooking....

    2. Had lotsa help. No.1 Grandson brought two (2) Key Lime pies from FL in a flat-bottom tote. I guess no one surprises airport security. When my cousin flew from CA to St. Maarten Island, the security guard asked: What's in the box? She said: Daddy.

  2. Thank you for sharing that. Isn't it wonderful to feel a connection across the ocean. It makes the world that much smaller. I too am grateful for my Irish roots and for having had the opportunity to experience them firsthand. And am also feeling grateful today for having made a friend there so long ago who is now part of my life again. ☺

  3. wow!! outstanding snapshots of a trip worth its weight in beer....i mean, gold.... and the stone... well done, brian, well done.


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