Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Irish by Marriage is just not Irish, even on St. Patrick's Day

As mentioned previously, I have been married to my husband Derek for the past 26 years. Prior to my relationship with him, I had very little exposure to people from that side of the pond.  Derek was born and raised until the ripe old age of 6 yrs as a little Irish kid.  When the O'Rourke family emigrated, he, unfortunately lost his wee Irish accent (sorry is that Scottish?).  To be honest, I would probably find him more appealing if he still had the accent, but there is no rewriting history.




So courting an Irish guy was a bit different than all my other vast number of dating experiences.  My first hint might have been when I met Derek's parents, ( AKA  by some as The Sheleighly's) when Derek asked me if I (and I quote) "would fancy a cup of tea".  I soon learned a lot about this "tea" thing.  I had Scottish and British girlfriends, so I had already learned that tea is not made with hot tap water.   I knew enough to boil a kettle, but the intricacies were lost on me at that time.  Tea sometimes means a cup of tea.  Sometimes it means a meal.   I was instructed that when asked if one would like a cup of tea, that you always said "yes", whether you wanted one or not. It was not really intended as a question. If you didn't want it "just hold the cup". As newlyweds I found the most annoying thing was the constant belaboring of the question "did you put the kettle on?"


With marriage came the true introduction to life having an Irish spouse.  We went  to Ireland early in our life together when I was expecting Kate.  Ok, I guess "we" were expecting Kate.  However I have trouble with the whole new "we were pregnant with Kate".  I don't remember him getting up to pee or his swollen ankles on the plane.  Oh sorry, I digress, just a pet peeve of mine.  Even though Derek has been raised in a melting pot, he retains some very Irish idiosyncrasies   He tells time in fractions like "half six"  He does not know there is a "t" in Sa'urday.  He calls his father "Da" and refers to the bathroom as "the lu".  The gift of the gab takes on a whole new meaning when recounting stories.  My labour stories, the one thing all women cherish and try to tell at every chance they have, are now just a lead in to Derek's story of the day he witnessed birth.  Seriously, how is that a bigger story?

.  And then there is the A'POSTROPHE!!!  What I considered to be a major selling factor when I first met Derek, this charming last name has been the bane of my existence for the past 26 years.  It is difficult to spell this name out loud.  It is entered differently in every possible way in all computer systems.  I get a lot of "I am sorry Mrs. AuRoukey, you are not in the system".

"Try with an apostrophe.  Try without , Try a capital R. Try without".  Usually they can track me down. .I have pleaded with my father-in-law to drop the "O", but he is not having any of that.  I just crave the simplicity of WELLS.

So as St Patrick's day approaches, I reminisce about the lessons I have learned.  I learned not to ask "what day is St. Patrick's day this year?".  I learned that the grunge in the teapot is not to be scrubbed out, as it is some kind of source of Irish fibre.  I learned that although my father-in-law was impressed when I ordered a Guinness  he was disappointed in me when I had no idea what I had just ordered.  However, he gladly drank this effluent for me.  From what I understand, Guinness goes from being horrific to being delicious between one's second and third.  I never got this far.
Sister-in-law  Patricia's  St Patrick's Day Pup.


My children rally for St. Patrick's Day. So do all of their friends as of course "Everyone is Irish..."  But I guess my kids really are, to a certain degree.  My children learned to drink tea with sugar and milk at their grandparent's kitchen table at an early age.  They learned about their grandmother's home made soda bread and brack.  Their names are somewhat Irish, wee Katie, Kevin and Brigid O'Rourke. They will learn to make a Christmas pudding with Guinness.  They don't even hear their grandparents' accents.  They have worn green clothes and shamrocks on St Patrick's Day.  They have attended Irish Club Christmas parties. They have Claddagh rings. The have an A'Postrophe  that they must endure.  Kevin calls Derek "Da" and the girls took Irish dancing lessons at the Orangeville Arena (a coincidence, I think not) for about 45 minutes - but that counts.  Kevin spent some time in Ireland after high school with family and camping out as he set up  for an Irish festival.  I bet they thought his accent was as cute as the Canadian Flag folding chair I sent.  Poor Kid.

 I expect the O'Rourke children will celebrate in style this week.  Kate is going to Boston to see the Dropkick Murphys.  How Irish can you get.   Bridget will drink her first green beer and Kevin will probably stick with Guinness as long as it has a shamrock on it.  He is not an embarrassment to his grandfather by any means.  At one point of my life I would busy myself with preparing

a Green White and Orange meal (honestly I used to do this, just like the flag).  Now I will watch Jack Donaghey on 30 Rock.  I will drink Irish Coffee and wait for the real O'Rourke's to check in.  

Just remember:


Photo: Off to the pub now with family for some food and drinks..I LOVE being Irish!! - Ro




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