|(aka frost warning solutions)|
Our walking tour guide began Galway's history with a special nod to Pádraic Ó Conaire—born in Galway in 1882—a writer and ally of the Irish language and independence. His statue is situated in the main square; due to politics, it has been revered and ridiculed, moved several times, and once beheaded. Despite everything it has overcome since its establishment the statue has persevered. Like Ireland itself, Pádraic has endured a lot, yet remains robust and undefeated.
Speaking of enduring individuals, while we traveled in Ireland, Sinead O'Connor died. Coincidentally, I was listening to her memoir in her own voice: this experience felt so bittersweet, like a surprise gift I didn't deserve, and a poignant reminder of how much art means to me personally but also stirs and sustains us all.
I feel compelled to share something from her memoir, Rememberings. She explained that when her career ended after SNL, she felt free! The music industry suppressed that she was a protest singer so they could market her as a pop star. She aimed to use her unparalleled voice to spread light through songs, but also shed light on darkness—a darkness she experienced personally as did so many in Ireland but a darkness no one wanted to acknowledge at the time—abuse, racism, greed. Her words: “They broke my heart and they killed me, but I didn't die. They tried to bury me, they didn't realize I was a seed.” Indeed.
Recently, our daughter, our toddler granddaughter, and our newborn grandson stayed with us for two weeks. Pure fun. Also, pure energy. Breaks were essential and that meant walks, parks, drawing, reading, singing, also an inflatable kiddie pool, plus TV and movies.
With my daughter's approval, I introduced my two-year-old granddaughter to Pixar's 'Up.' Although I hadn't watched it for a decade, I remembered Carl and Russell, the "little mailman" sidekick, Dug the talking-dog, and that indelible image of hundreds of balloons tied to Carl's precarious house floating us all away into adventure—a perfect representation of childhood imagination, and also a poignant metaphor for time and how we can't hold on(to) forever.
I was rapt. With new eyes, I realized that this film introduced the "Squirrel!" distraction meme, still common in our language mores. I (re)recognized the pain of discovering your childhood heroes were not so heroic. I remembered Carl's transformation: growing stronger (less grief-stricken and, dare I say, younger) with each conflict—he tossed his walker and eventually spit out his dentures! Rewatching 'Up,' I also realized I'm now 65% Carl, ha!
And my granddaughter? Likewise rapt. She (and her pillow) crawled in so close to me; she barely said a word except in one dramatic part where she turned to me with alarm in her eyes and yelled something like "go bird go!" But I didn't remember, nor was I prepared to relive Russell telling Carl about his broken family and a favourite memory of sitting along the street eating ice-cream with his Dad. Homesick for the past, he notes others might find his memory boring, yet Russell longs for those simple, shared moments with his Dad, "I like that curb."
Indeed, Russell. I miss some curbs too. Don't we all? Some I'll never forget. But friends, we can like new curbs too. Maybe 'Up' will be one of those curbs for my granddaughter and her Pops—the story of an old guy and a kid and what they can learn from each other if, together, they are willing to keep looking up and seeking new adventures.
This is my family: me, our son, my spouse, my son-in-law, and my daughter, plus our TWO grandbabies! Our newest grandbaby arrived in May, a brother for M. (Also, their feral cat, August.) To quote the Lego Movie, "everything is awesome."
I've looked EVERYWHERE!