10 Things I Learned in NewYork -- Part 8
Mike and I heard that the most famous Irish pub in New York is The Dead Rabbit. A man told us that people get in real bar fights there, others fall in love, but regardless the food is great.
"Let's go," I told Mike.
"So you can watch me get in a bar fight?"
"I'd be more worried about me getting in one!"
He laughed because apparently I don't look tough at all.
We sat down on spinny bar stools and both ordered a Guinness. "Wow, Guinness is different. Dinner and a beer, all in one!" Then, I suddenly looked around and nearly choked with excitement. "Oh my gosh!" I squealed, hearing the conversations around us. "There are Irish people--actually in this pub!"
"Yep." Mike smiled. "Yep, there are. Irish people in an Irish pub."
The point is that I wish I was Irish. I 'tried' perfecting the dialect for months, even read an entire book to my kids while acting as if Irish blood ran boldly through my veins. Then I worked on the Scottish dialect, and read them this:
Back cover quote:
Ad so the scene is set for a muckle battle between the scunnersome fermers and the tremendous tods. He'll need all his wily wits to escape the fermers' wrath and find a new way to feed his faimlie. But is he sleekit enough to succeed?
The whole book is written like that. After finishing the book, that's about the time my DNA test came back. I shook, so eager to find out I was really Irish. But I had 0% Irish. I'm a whole lot of Italian--which I love--and a whole lot of Scandinavian--go Vikings!
"You're hilarious," Mike said. "You want to use your Irish accent, don't you?"
I nodded. "But I won't. That's weird!"
We hadn't been sitting there long when one man came and introduced himself to Mike. "I'm from Belfast--I'll answer that right off because people always ask me. And you? Where are you from?"
He sat by Mike and said, "Oh, the land of potatoes."
Mike and I smiled at each other. It doesn't matter how far we go from home, people hear the word 'Idaho' and they know about the potatoes.
As Mike talked to his new best friend, another man came up to me--straight out of the bathroom. He shook my hand and said with a slur, "I have herpes, you might want to wash that."
I kept gripping his hand, not wanting that brute to get a rise out of ME. "A man takes a piss," I said boldly, "then gets enough balls to try scaring some poor girl. That's nice." I refused to break eye contact, a bit worried I'd be in my very first bar fight!
"American." He grinned so wide and slapped me on the back.
I nodded, and tried not falling off the damn stool.
"Only American women respond like that. I like ya. I like all of ya."
"Where are you from?" I asked.
Then he walked back to his group of rowdies, and when I realized he wasn't looking back at me anymore, I went to the bathroom and washed my hands. I didn't wanna look idiotic, but I also didn't want herpes!
Anyway, the night went on, and Mike and Mr. Belfast had the most interesting conversations about war, life, and love.
We went to another bar and Belfast came along. I got bangers and mashers, and another beer! After a moment, Mike went to the bathroom and Belfast and I sat awkwardly next to each other.
"Okay, fine," I said. "I've been dying to ask you a question, so I'm gonna ask it! Looking back at your exciting life--of travel and adventure--what's your most important memory?"
He took a long draft of his fourth Guinness, and tapped the table with his free hand. "All right.... It was over forty years ago, in the yard with my dad. Before things got weird with growing up, and fighting for different countries. Before it was hard to always know what's right and what's wrong.... He played football with me--not that American football. Anyway, we played for hours. If I could go back to that moment, well...."
He didn't say anything more for a minute and took a swig of his beer. "He's gone now, my dad. But that single moment, playing football with my dad, that was perfect."
Mike came out and Belfast started saying how he's done things his dad might not be proud of.
I suddenly felt so impressed to say something, something I couldn't get from my mind.
"If you met us for anything, I hope it's for this single statement," I said, "it's time to forgive yourself. Really, you've been carrying this around for too long. You know your dad's love. Forgive yourself. It's time."
Mike and I left shortly after that. But not before I got to practice my Irish accent on the man. "Oh, shit!" he laughed. "That was pretty good. It really was."
Mike grinned so big that his face turned a bit red and his eyes sparkled with mirth.
THAT moment was awesome--totally worth MONTHS of practice.
When Mike and I returned to our hotel that night, I kept thinking about Belfast's memory: playing football with his dad. What a powerful thing, to pinpoint the most important memory, and see the value of life so clearly.
The key moments of life often become painfully clear when those we love pass on.