Tag Archives: wedding

The usual mixture

I bask in the Manhattan sun,
warm against my face

and remember Ireland a year ago
with Tricia and with friends,

and rejoice with Joel and Roja
whose promises drew us across the water,

and ache for Joe who joined us there
and today grieves his brother’s death.

Disparate feelings stir, mix, tug,
today, as every day. Life.

27 April 2013
Shire near the Hudson

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Filed under Family, Friends, Ireland, New York, Poem

Purple flowers: why I post them

My friend Judy set me wondering when she asked about the “purple flower collection.”

Why do I post photos of purple flowers?

I have never liked flowers. In some ways, I dislike flowers. With my life-long allergies, many flowers flat-out make me sneeze.

I also dislike taking care of flowers. Gardening holds no appeal. I can barely keep flowers or other plants alive indoors.

When I moved to New York, I received a gorgeous potted setting of several plants for my office. Plants. No flowers. Those who gave it to me know of my allergies. The plants survive only because Ricky cares for them.

I confess that I sometimes ponder getting cacti as a reminder of New Mexico. Someday I may do that. For now, even the minimal care that cacti require seems more than I want to expend.

I do understand that others like to receive flowers. From time to time over the years, on what I hope were appropriate occasions, my mother and Tricia have received gifts from FTD.

When he played a senior solo at Heights High, son Sean received many flowers from friends. I wonder at this concept and then rejoiced when he shared the flowers with shut-in friends.

My lack of interest in things floral does not come naturally. My grandfather loved to garden. He did so at home and on the family farm. In retirement he worked at the local college – as a gardener. 

I spent time in gardens working with him. I carried tools I could not name and cans of water. But I learned little. My joy came not from caring for the flowers and shrubs and trees but from being in my grandfather’s presence.

His love for gardening and for flowers passed to my mother. Again I helped but never quite got the point. No green thumbs came to me. I am fine with that.

Sifting through the sands of memory, one floral experience does bring a smile. We lived for a number of years on Neville Island in the Ohio River – 7007 Front River Road. Why can I remember that but forget passwords I created yesterday?

Between our back yard and the Ohio River stood an inclined bank where each spring wild flowers grew. I can still see my pudgy little hand proudly clutching bouquets for my mother – bouquets of wild violets – purple flowers.

The color purple is easier. I have always liked purple. At one point, I persuaded my parents to paint my room a deep, dark, rich, royal purple.

A few years back, I started taking photos. Sons Sean and Eric began before me and it looked like fun. One summer, Sean loaned me his camera to take to Ghost Ranch. I was hooked.

I started saving money and reached the goal. Then, a few days before I went shopping, the washing machine at the Shire died. I knew it was not a good sign when the repairwoman spent fifteen minutes in her truck trying to track down the part. She pointed out that the dryer was the same age as the washing machine so it might make sense to replace them both. Darned if that did not cost about the same as the camera I wanted to buy.

I saved again. Time passed. The major appliances cooperated. I took the plunge.

I am not any good at it. I freely confess that. But every once in a while the camera carries me. Foolish and fearless, I post some of the results.

This spring I posted photos from Ireland and Northern Ireland where Tricia and I traveled for Roja and Joel’s wedding. Among the photos was one of purple flowers at the Titanic Memorial Garden.

After that, as I sorted through my photos, I realized how many photos of purple flowers I have. I had not been aware of that. But there they are. And the series was born. Now I take photos of purple flowers intentionally. 

I cannot name the flowers and have little interest in learning their names. But I know where I took the photos and with the aid of the time and date stamp when I took them.

Perhaps they touch my childhood in some way I will some day understand. For now, they are purple.

They are memory.

That is good.

That is enough.

See you along the Trail.


Filed under Family, Friends


Roja and Joel invited me.

The Presbytery of New York City vouched for me.

The Presbyterian Church of Ireland processed the paperwork for me.

The Republic of Ireland granted permission to me.

Thus it came to pass, on 28 April 2012, the immense pleasure of solemnising the wedding of Joel and Roja came to me.

And our mutual friend Joe photographed Roja and Joel …

… and me.

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Friends, Ireland, Photo

Before the wedding

The Trail has recently taken Tricia and me on a quick trip to Dublin, other parts of Ireland, Belfast, and some of the region around that city. Perhaps quick is not the right word to use, the trip did last most of ten days. But many places remain unseen, calling for a return visit.

The wedding of two friends led to this trip. I have already posted about that joy-filled event: a reflection on a party before the wedding and some notes on the sermon. Here’s one more. Others may follow. This picture of my friends with her mother and sister has received many positive comments on Facebook:

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Friends, Ireland, Photo

Love songs – silly or not

What song lyrics would you suggest for a wedding sermon on love?

Tonight I had the privilege and joy to preach at the wedding of two friends.  For the sermon I went with a reflection on love that used lyrics from a number of songs. Some I identified myself. Others were suggested by mutual friends: David Bowie, Laura Mariko Cheifetz, Noelle Tennis Gulden, DeLaina Gumbs, Irene Pak, Valerie Small, and Laura VanDale. For the little help that I needed to get by, I thank them.

Here’s the “playlist”:

  • With a Little Help from My Friends – The Beatles
  • What’s Love Got to Do with It? – Tina Turner
  • Can’t Buy Me Love – The Beatles
  • Free in You – Indigo Girls
  • Do You Love me? – Fiddler on the Roof
  • September – Earth, Wind, and Fire
  • Unforgettable – Nat King Cole
  • Home Is Where the Heart Is – Mary Travers and Holly Near
  • Respect – Aretha Franklin
  • Till the End of Time – Perry Como
  • Treasure Island – Mary Black
  • Bridge over Troubled Water – Simon and Garfunkel
  • You Can’t Hurry Love – Diana Ross and the Supremes
  • Love You ‘Till the End – The Pogues
  • Power of Two – Indigo Girls
  • Sometimes You Can’t Make It on Your Own – U2
  • Let the Circle Be Wide – Tommy Sands
  • How Can I Keep from Singing? – Eva Cassidy

What would you add?

See you along the Trail.


Filed under Friends, Ireland, Music, Travel

Henna Night in Dublin

Joel and Roja’s wedding brought me to Ireland. It seems only fitting that the first posting related to the trip should feature a photo of Roja, Joel and me. Thursday evening saw two wonderful celebrations – a Groom’s Party at the Palace Bar followed by Henna Night at Clontarf Castle in Dublin. At the end of Henna Night, we paused for this photo.

I leave in a few moments to prepare to solemnise the service at the Stephen’s Green Hibernian Club.

See you along the Trail.


Filed under Friends, Ireland, Travel

The way of travel

An enlargeable basic map of Ireland

An enlargeable basic map of Ireland (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tricia and I head to Ireland today. Friends have invited me to solemnise their marriage.

The day will see packing and the tying of some loose ends. Other loose ends will remain so. No doubt ends once thought secure will be discovered to be loose. Such is the way of travel.

I have long looked forward to a trip to Ireland. This is my first. I rejoice in the occasion. Still I will complain about the rush to get ready and worry about the things left undone and, Bilbo-esque, wonder about what I may inadvertently leave at home. Such realities are the way of travel.

Disrupting our routine opens the possibility for new experiences. New experiences offer the opportunity for new insights and growth. And that too is the way of travel.

See you along the Trail.


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Filed under Family, Friends, Ireland, Travel