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Mother’s Day Memories - Tough Times Shape People

by Ward Gahan
2 Comment(s)
Mother’s Day Memories - Tough Times Shape People

My wife is still amazed at the lack of celebration of Birthdays and holidays like Mothers Day in Ireland. I think things have “evolved” for Mother’s Day in Ireland in the intervening years from when I was growing up in Clonmel, Co. Tipperary


For most Irish people “The Mammy” holds a special place. There’s nobody like ‘the Mammy”. 

As I reminisce, thinking about my Mother, I realize that she faced tough times like a lot of people are facing now. I’m channeling some of the wisdom and wit that she might have shared. So today’s blog is honoring all of those Mother’s facing tough times, trying to manage the multiple demands that you handle every day. As my Mum (Biddy Murphy) was an inspiration to me, so too are you an inspiration to others.


The “Bid” knew a thing or two about tough times shaping tough people. She was born in 1915 at the end of the first world war, one of 11 kids growing up on a small farm in Tipperary. (Here’s a tip of my Irish cap to my Grandmother as well!) Biddy would mention having very little worldly possessions as a child but they always had plenty she said. The “made do with what we had”


The odd time she would share stories, as the Irish will do. 


Everybody had a job on the farm. They would grow most of their own food and vegetables and there was always a pot on the hob with lots of cooking at home. I would imagine it was a challenge to get out when you have 11 kids. I remember as a kid going to the farm with chickens and turkeys and a huge garden with furrows of potatoes and bushes of Blackberries and Gooseberries for jam. The rhubarb patch was nearly as high as the house. There were rows of apple trees “up in the haggard” as they called it.



So how did she get through those tough times? She always shared her wisdom with us so I thought I’d share it with all of you as well:

  • Prayer was good for most challenges. She had a strong faith and we’d be on our knees in the kitchen saying the rosary when things got bad. A decade of the rosary was the cure for most ills
  • If you lost something, pray to St. Anthony. (Tony, Tony, turn around, something’s lost and can’t be found.) Inevitably, it turns up!
  • If you feel desperate, pray to St. Jude, the patron saint of “lost causes.”
  • “It takes more than one swallow to make a summer” was Biddy’s way of saying to be hopeful in tough times. Or as the data insights person in me would say today ”one data point does not a trend make…” I prefer the swallow analogy….


One last story before I go. Biddy loved her car, but when she got to be about 85, she didn’t drive it on the road any longer. It would sit in her garage. On occasion, she’d slowly back it out of the garage. Carefully, making sure that she didn’t scratch or accidentally dent anything. She’d sit in her precious car, enjoying the time while letting the sun rays shine down on her. Biddy called it her sunroom. You do what you have to do in Ireland for warmth and sunshine!


So as we plan ahead for Mother's Day on May 8th, I hope you can share some memories or stories of your mother in the comments . And don’t forget to get those orders in because before you  know it the shipping deadline for free shipping will have passed and you won’t be able to claim an Irish Mother’s Day  - shure no big deal -  another bloody holiday.”  Things have evolved and wouldn’t you feel bad.

by Ward Gahan

POST COMMENTS

Mark Weiser
Mark Weiser

My mother was adopted and so did not know her heritage. But she claimed she must be part Irish because she liked the way the Irish thought. So, at the age of 45, when I brought home an Irish born woman to be my 2nd wife, she welcomed her with open arms. My mother quickly took her side in any and all arguments. Kathlene ended up quitting her job to take care of my mother after she suffered a stroke. She became an angel to my mom. Best thing to ever happen to me and my family.

Cathy Moran
Cathy Moran

My Irish grandmother brought some of Ireland with her when she emigrated to Boston in 1889. One I remember from my childhood was if I left the house and came back to get something I had forgotten, she insisted that I sit down before, even just for a second, before leaving again – or “something terrible will happen if you don’t!”

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