The Unexpected

Christmas cards are not really on my agenda any more whereas they used to be a huge part of Christmas.

However, the other day a big thick old fashioned card arrived for me and I didn’t recognize the handwriting.

It was from a woman I met just once in my life about 4 years ago.

I was back in West Clare on the pavement across the road from where my late father grew up. I had heard all about the house from him but had never been in it because it was gone out of the family.

A woman saw me looking across at the building and asked me if I was okay. I explained that it was my father’s home place and that I just wanted to soak it in. She insisted that the owner, who was a friend of hers would be more than happy to let me see around and went and knocked on the door before I could say a word. It was near enough to 9pm in the summer.

I was greeted like a long lost relation and the woman, who had bought the house from my relations, was incredibly generous in terms of showing me all the rooms that I had heard so much about from Dad and also the back yard where they had kept dogs and horses.

The friend left before a cuppa appeared and the lady and I chatted very late into the night.

I couldn’t believe I was sitting in the same kitchen with the same lovely tiles my father had described.

I left that night feeling like I had been given a very precious gift of connection to my father’s youth.

I wrote a thank you letter when I got home and often thought of that special evening in the intervening years.

Then the Christmas card arrived on Friday and a letter fell out full of cheer and an invitation to visit again.

It has left me with the warmest glow and hope for a trip West when Covid allows.

I found a card that I think the 91 year old lady will appreciate and I hope it brings a smile to her lovely face.

We have a huge amount left to talk about and, for now, maybe we will settle for letter-writing. Hard to beat it!

Author: socialbridge

I am a sociologist and writer from Ireland. I have worked as a social researcher for 30 years and have had a lifelong passion for writing. My main research interests relate to health care and sense of place.

33 thoughts on “The Unexpected”

  1. What a lovely surprise! I have not done Christmas cards or snail mail in years, but this year, I have been writing letters and have sent out quite a few Christmas cards. It seemed a lovely time to pull out the old traditions.

      1. How are you guys this morning, are you in lockdown we are in the highest tier and Christmas is cancelled. Everyone is moaning and yes it is very sad but for the best. Boris late as ever should of done this much earlier. πŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œ

            1. And becoming more nightmarish with every news bulletin. Hopefully, lockdowns will be adhered to fully and I truly hope your son starts to feel better soon. πŸ’™πŸ’™

  2. Hello – I had a similar situation on a visit from the USA to West Ireland. A relative I had recently met on the trip, knocked on the door of my grandfather’s family home which he had left about 90 years earlier when he moved to the US, and the new owners greeted us gladly and gave me the tour. I was stunned to be sitting in the same home I had heard stories and read his nostalgic poems about for years. Brought tears of joy to me then and is still a cherished memory in my life! The Irish value the need and warmth of genuine connection!

  3. What a nice way to rekindle a new found friendship…Hopefully the next visit will be able to come to pass after this crisis that we are all experiencing…

  4. How lovely, both the first encounter and now the card. I was fortunate to have known my father’s family homestead in Dunmanway well before it was unceremoniously knocked down to make space for a grander dwelling, not even a nod to people to whom it meant something 😑

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