Home Is Where The Heart Is

I’ve been going through cupboards and drawers sorting and getting rid of stuff much to my husband’s ire.

While going through my recipe box and cookbooks I came across an Irish cookbook my Uncle Pete had sent to me so many years ago.

Flipping through the pages while checking out recipes I came across the letter Uncle Pete sent with the book. I have most of the letters Uncle Pete wrote me stored in a box in the attic but I was surprised to find this letter in the book.

It brought back so many memories of the years of letters we shared and the love that grew between a child and her beloved Uncle who lived thousands of miles away.

I was also reminded of a St. Patrick’s Day parade a few years ago and how the music and dancers sparked forgotten memories which in turn inspired a story about my Uncle Pete.

If you remember reading this before I hope that reading again will remind you of a special someone who touched your life with love. If you’re reading this for the first time I hope you enjoy my tale and that it will spark memories of someone special for you.

                   I Never Made It Home (previously published about 3 years ago)

Uncle Pete was my grandmother’s brother who lived in Ireland. Ballymote, Tuam in County Galway to be exact. I happened to visit my grandmother one day and she was writing a letter to her brother giving him information for her upcoming visit home. She told me he was family and that I should write to him handing me paper and pen

IMG_20180316_093023

My Grandmother when she returned home to Ireland for a visit and Uncle Pete

That was to be the start of years of communicating with a man I came to love even though I was only able to meet him once. I was about 9 years old when I wrote my first letter to Uncle Pete and I still remember the rush of pleasure I felt when I received my first letter from him. He was used to children, you see, because he and his wife, Aunt Delia, had 22 children. I know now that a family that large is very unusual but as a child the only thing I wondered about was how he could remember all his children’s names.

Our relationship continued to grow even after my grandmother passed away when I was 12. Loosing her broke my heart but I had Uncle Pete and he helped me deal with her loss. In my letters to him I shared my grief, my childhood dreams and worries, my teenage uncertainties and he would always offer words of comfort or advice as needed and always with love.

When I was older, each year when it came time for the Irish Sweepstakes, Uncle Pete would send me the tickets he had bought for me, always saying that if I won I had to come home for a visit.

The years passed, I married, had children and shared the joy of watching my babies grow into little boys with Uncle Pete. Sometimes I would ask his advice about something troubling me and he had a way of seeing to the heart of the matter. In our letters we continued to share our lives, the ups and downs, the happy times and the times of sadness. He told me of his loneliness after Aunt Delia passed away and would often mention how he looked forward to the time I would be able to come home for a visit.

I was finally able to meet Uncle Pete for the first time when he came to America to visit his son and daughter-in-law who lived in Connecticut. After years of corresponding I can’t begin to describe what it was like to finally meet this man who had become so important to me.

Uncle Pete returned home to Ireland and we continued writing. I don’t think he was too impressed with his visit to America because in one of his letters he mentioned how in Ireland a man could stop in for a pint and a visit whenever he wanted with no grief from the woman, unlike American women, and letting me know he was laughing about that.

Life has a way of keeping you busy so that you don’t realize how quickly time passes. We continued to write to each other and every so often Uncle Pete would tell me I had to come home for a visit; until the day the letter came telling me Uncle Pete had died.

Uncle Pete’s letters are stored safely away in a box in the attic and certainly I could still visit family in Ireland now but it just wouldn’t be the same for me.

0288f0f9a0b5f55217ac50ac6852f36a

** This reminded me of the home in my grandmother’s picture.

I may have never made it home to visit but I was there in his heart as he is still in mine. I’ll have to try to remember that. It’s said that home is where the heart is, and if so, then I often went home for a visit with Uncle Pete.

IMG_20180316_125608

 

Feeling nostalgic, I baked a loaf of Irish Soda Bread using the recipe Uncle Pete’s daughter-in-law shared with me during our visit all those years ago.

A hot cup of tea, a slice of that bread with Irish butter and in my heart I imagine it’s a wee taste of home with Uncle Pete.

 

 

The bowl you see in this picture is a larger Waterford Crystal bowl which I bought in 2001.  The real deal direct from Ireland and, I’ll admit, a bit pricey.

Of course when I unpacked the bowl Hubby asked how much it cost so I told him.

“You paid how much for that eff’in bowl” he asked me, rather loudly, a couple of times.  I won’t use the word he did but I’m sure you know what it was.

I calmly confirmed the price and watched his face as shock and a great deal of ire slowly gave way to acceptance.

You see, there wasn’t really much he could say about what I’d spent for the bowl because, as I saw it, the bowl was a gift from my Dad’s brother, Uncle John.   When Uncle John died November, 2000, I was shocked to learn he that he had left me a bequest which allowed me to buy my Waterford Crystal bowl.

Hubby never said a word about returning my bowl and 17 years later the bowl still retains its place of honor on our dining room table.

IMG_20180612_153710

My husband still refers to it as the “fookin bowl”.

I think of it as a little piece of Ireland and a reminder of two special Uncles who hold a place at home in my heart.

 

** Picture found on Pinterest

 

All rights reserved. I hope you enjoyed my story but please remember it’s my story so no using or copying any content in any manner without the express written permission of the owner…me.

What Not To Say When Buying Duct Tape

A few years ago one of my sisters shared a story with me about her son’s misadventures at work and I thought I’d share the story again.

My nephew worked at an office that used sand bags for therapy.   In my humble opinion, my nephew is a good-looking young man.  He has that “boy next door” handsomeness with a smile that catches and keeps your attention.

On this particular day at work the sand bags broke, were needed before replacements could be delivered, so being creative, the employees scooped the sand into zip lock bags and wrapped the bags with duct tape.

When they ran out of duct tape my nephew was sent to Wal-Mart to purchase more.  The single roll he purchased wasn’t enough so he was sent back to Wal-Mart to purchase more tape.  This time he purchased two of the largest rolls  of duct tape he could find.

When it came time to pay for his purchase he happened to go to the same cashier.

Now, the following is my interpretation of the conversation between my nephew and the cashier based on my sister’s re-telling.  We were both laughing and I had to ask her to repeat some parts of her story because I thought it was so funny.

Cashier:  “Must be a big project to use so much duct tape”.

Nephew:  “I didn’t realize it took so much duct tape to kidnap someone”.

Silence from the cashier.  I can picture her staring at him because of what he said while he’s standing there smiling back at her.

Cashier:  “I’ll be with you in a moment sir”.   She turned away from him and reached for the phone by her register.  My nephew couldn’t hear what she was saying because she kept her voice very low.

Nephew:  “Is there a problem”?

Cashier:  “No sir”.

Nephew:  “Could you ring this up please”?

Cashier:  “Just a minute sir”.

The store manager walks over at this point and starts questioning my nephew.

“What’s your name, what do you need the duct tape for, do you have ID”.

At this point my nephew realized the cashier took his joking comment seriously.  He explained to the Store Manager he was only kidding when she asked about the duct tape.  Luckily for my nephew, he had a business card with him and he showed this to the Manager while explaining why he was buying the duct tape.

Here’s another nephew adventure story my sister shared with me.

My nephew was having a problem at work with someone messing with his lunches; either eating things or hiding things.  Having had enough, one day he packed two sandwiches liberally spreading a liquid laxative on one sandwich.  He placed his sandwhiches in the refrigerator at work being careful so he would know which sandwhich was safe to eat.

Lunch time came and he saw that “someone” had taken a sandwich.  Unfortunately for nephew the “someone” took the safe sandwhich.  Nephew ate his sandwhich for lunch but discovered it wasn’t the safe one.  It was the sandwhich he had liberally laced with the liquid laxative.

It was a fast acting laxative.

Nephew has a wonderful sense of humor but sometimes, as often happens in life, it can bite you in the ass.

 

All rights reserved.  I hope you enjoyed my story but please remember it’s my story so no using or copying any content in any manner without the express written permission of the owner…..me.