Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Ireland- Day 2 Carrick-on-Shannon

I woke up this morning to a cup of hot tea delivered bedside by my favorite man in all of Ireland.

Not a bad start to the day I think as I throw the covers off my body and jump out of bed before my brain has time to register what’s going on and coerce me back to sleep- where my body desperately wants to return.

The sound of conversation from the kitchen solidifies the decision to move in that direction, even as my body continues to pull me back into the unreasonably comfortable twin size bed.

It’s Percy. I can tell, even though his voice is soft and I can’t make out anything that’s being said.

Although I only got about six and a half hours of sleep, I’m glad I’m up. After all, that’s what I’m here for- to connect with and talk to the people I think about all year long, wishing it were easier (and cheaper!) to be in their company more often.

Gene is clanking around in the kitchen and Percy is sitting down with his cane beside him and his fluorescent yellow walking vest on, indicating that he’s already gotten in his morning walk.

When I enter the kitchen, bleary-eyed, with my steaming hot cup of tea, I sit down and attempt to join the conversation, pretending that I’m wide awake and alert. Although I’m feeling anything but, I put on a very good show.

In a span of 30 minutes, I’m offered fruit, tea, more tea, more fruit, yogurt, brown bread, sweet bread, fruit juice and a full Irish breakfast. To try and deflect having to eat this, I pad down the short hallway to my bedroom and grab a banana hoping that’ll keep Gene at bay. I return to the kitchen with my banana in tow and before I know it, Gene’s flitted off somewhere again. This man cannot sit still and I’m finding it amusing. Before I can complete that thought, Gene reappears, “Here take my slippers. Go on, put ‘em on now.” Leaving no room for arguments, I put the slippers on and continue to fend off the offers to have more food. I even go back to my bedroom to grab an apple hoping that’ll do the trick. But no.

“What would you eat if you were at home Molly?”

“Greek yogurt and some cereal.”

That conversation resulted in my first experience with hazelnut yogurt. I didn’t need or want that, but I’m finding it increasingly difficult to turn down all this food. Was Gene an Italian mother in his former life?

It didn’t stop there.

Despite my assurances that I was fine with what I’d had to eat, Gene insisted on cooking a full Irish breakfast. Percy couldn’t participate, even though he would have been a more suitable candidate for this food eating contest, because he has to time his meals with his pills. And wouldn’t you know it, those were at home.

While the conversation continued, Gene kept clanking about and before long a more than full Irish breakfast was set in front of me. Grilled tomatoes and mushrooms (I eat neither of those things), sausage and bacon, black pudding (which was set on my plate and then almost immediately taken off my plate- by Gene- and thrown in the trash), one piece of a potato waffle (as amazing as it sounds), boxty- I think- and one fried egg.

“Do you want it sunny side up? I was asked that once when I was in America and I never knew what they meant by that. Here you get eggs one of two ways, boiled or fried. Sunny side up. What’s it even mean?”

Gene didn’t expect me to respond. Which is good because I didn’t.

“Molly. Do ya want some toast? White toast, brown bread, what do ya want?”

Knowing there was no way out of this I relented “I’ll just help myself to a piece of brown bread.”

“Very well. It’s better for ya anyway than this white bread.”

We sat down and enjoyed a nice meal together while Percy continued talking about everything and nothing- the pub in Essex which wouldn’t let him in dressed in his Army uniform a million years ago, the IFA buying a meal and two pints for farmers en route to some convention, the police car parked up the street from the Thatch last night that made at least two sets of patrons refrain from consuming more than one drink for fear of being pulled over, the Indians owning ½ of Canada (that was news to me) and drinking too much “juice”. The man can talk. And it’s delightful to listen to him spew out all this random information. He’s basically a walking encyclopedia. My favorite was sitting back and watching Percy educate Gene on the art of buying drinks for the pub and making sure there’s enough on reserve just in case (a bus comes through or there’s a sporting event in Roscommon). Apparently they ran out of Guinness (can you imagine!) on a recent Saturday night and according to Percy, “It was embarrassing. Can you imagine? A pub running out of Guinness?”

No. I can’t. Not in Ireland.

I ate enough to make it look respectful, but my plate was still overflowing with all this food. After a while, Gene rescued me and took it away when he knew I’d not be eating anymore.

As the conversation wound down, Percy got on his way, and I cleaned up the kitchen while Gene wrote out his to do list and set about to cross some things off it. Our next meal was, of course, discussed and planned before Gene and I set about our days: “I’ve got some fish and peas and potatoes for an evening meal.” And while I could absolutely go for more sleep- and fully intend on it at some point today- I’m feeling incredibly relaxed and comfortable already. I’m not sure what the rest of my day has in store for me, but I’m ready for where the day takes me.


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