He Still Makes Me Smile!

The fact that Father’s Day and Midsummer’s Day coincide this year seems just perfect for me and I feel incredibly fortunate that this is how I see it.

Father died in September 2010 and while I’ve shed some tears over his passing, thinking about him almost invariably makes me smile and/or chuckle. I think it’s fair to say that he’s the person that brought most smiles and laughter into my life. He loved to laugh and he had a gorgeous twinkly smile. I am even smiling here as I write this.


Hubby and son have gone off to a Inter-County hurling match, just as Father did with his father in the 1920s and 30s in their passionate support for Co. Clare, hubby did with his father, hubby did with my father after his father died. Those male outings are absolutely synonymous with Mid-Summer in our scheme of things.

So, I’ve been swimming in the sea, gardening, feasting on strawberries and having a rummage through the boxes and boxes of photographs and little treasures that Father left.

Here’s a few of the photographs that had me smiling and thinking of Father on hot summer days, like today:

At the bottom of a box, I unearthed a very well thumbed book that I’d never seen before. It was published in 1945, three years before Mother and Father got married.


I ended up sitting on the stairs reading the schoolboy howlers from start to finish. These ones certainly made me chuckle:

‘The three greatest artists of the Renaissance are Angelo, Leonardo and Archaepelego.’

‘The future of “I give” is “You take.”

‘The earth makes a resolution every twenty-four hours.’

‘A triangle which has an angle of 135 degrees is called an obscene triangle.’

‘Cure for a toothache: Take a mouthful of cold water and sit on the stove till it boils.’

‘The bottom of the sea is composed of clay and fine sentiments.’

I hope Father’s Day has been good to you, even if your father is no longer with you.


Midsummer ~ Buckets and Spades

I have been giving a lot of thought to Bucket Lists and Spade Lists in recent times.  A Bucket List, which derives its name from that great 2007  film, starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, is about those things you would if  told you only had a short time to live.  Thankfully, I haven’t been hit with news of impending death so I haven’t done much more than think about Bucket Lists in an abstract way. 

Spade Lists, though,  are of a different order, and for me, they are about everyday digging. Such digging can be seen as a daily grind or it can be infused with creativity, colour and connection.  Flashbacks to childhood days on Tramore Beach, here in Co. Waterford,  with a big yellow spade digging happily, hoping to get to Australia, but knowing that I was in a race against both the water coming up from Australia and the tide coming in behind me with its white  lacy edges. 

Those hours kneeling on  the beach, feeling both the damp, heavy sand and taking time to let the hot fine grains flow through my young fingers were all about living totally in the precious moments while planning new creations. Go, gather coloured stones and shells to decorate a sandcastle;  divert the tide with dams and build bridges from one castle to another to enable the  seaweed people with their fancy shell bonnets to party with each other…..

Weaving creative wonder into everyday life is not just for kids on the beach. It’s there for all of us if we just step back onto those beaches and use our bright yellow spades to carve out Spade Lists that will let us savour the magic that can be there in even the most mundane activities – like doing the grocery shopping. Hey, see all the bright yellows staring out from the fruit and veg!