Ireland - May 2017
Back in late 2016 I was sitting at a local pub in Taos, New Mexico with my good friend and writing partner, Aileen who was getting excited and telling me all about the trip she and her husband Joel were planning to Ireland in summer of 2017. In a moment of sheer abandon, after a long draw on her beer she blurted, "You should go to Ireland and we'll meet up there! wouldn't that be fun?" I smiled and nodded and thought, of course that would be fun but I can't go to Ireland.
And the sun rose and the sun set and time passed...
Late that year, I was on Facetime with Tau, my friend of 27 years and he and I were chatting about the things we tend to chat about like cars and 80's music and indie films and our moms and the stock market and our lives in general. I asked him when he was going to come out to New Mexico again for a visit.
he said, "Aw, kid, that sounds like fun, but I've got to get over to England and see Mum before I go anywhere else."
"Oh? When do you plan to go?"
"Summer probably, maybe May."
"Really? My friends, Aileen and Joel are going to be in Ireland in May. I could come over while you're there and we could all meet up."
"Sounds like fun, kid, you know I've always wanted to take a driving tour of Ireland."
And so it began, we started nailing down dates for May of 2017.
In today's world of technology
I was able to keep folks updated
on my whereabouts along the way.
I called mom and sent Tau a snap
so he would not mistakenly walk by me
at LAX where we were meeting up. . .
I crack myself up!
Tau and I were able to make it on the same plane to the UK and I called, last-minute and was able to secure seats
next to each other.
Now, the next bit was not funny at the time but it is now and I suppose shows that I was not only excited but a little bit tired and that can be a goofy combination. . .
We arrived at Heathrow after an uneventful flight (the best kind) and we went to collect our baggage. Mucha, Tau's brother was there to Pick us up and the two of them were texting and arranging the simplest way to meet up and get on our way.
We grabbed our bags off the carousel, by then I was doing the pee pee dance . I looked for the ladies room.
"Whilst you're doing that, I'm going on out and meet up with my brother." Tau remarked with a slight gesture toward the large sliding doors that were glass but the large panes were obscured by a milky film that had been applied. I thought, like any other airport that I've EVER been to that I'd walk right outside into the fresh air and sunshine and hop into the car waiting at the curb.
I said, "Okay, I'll be out in five minutes, I'll meet you right outside ."
Thirty minutes later and after a Compassionate British man allowed me to call Mucha on his cell phone, we finally met up in the Parking structure on the level and row that Mucha had parked.
Grateful to be reunited and packed up in the car we began our journey to Hintlesham, near Ipswich, where Tau and Mucha's mother, Mrs. Murapa lives.
The lovely Mucha Murapa ferried us along and we were a bit hungry and needed a break.
Traffic was kinda heavy and we knew it'd be quite a while before we got there so we stopped off to grab a small bite at a local Essex haunt. Per Tau, Essex dwellers believe that
they represent the "true England." Other Anglicans disagree, of course, but as for
this roadside food truck... if the area cabbies and workmen eat here, you know it's got to be guud!
We arrived at Mrs. Murapa's home and had a joyous reunion with her. She is a lovely person and is one of my favorite ladies. We were thinking about taking her out to a nice restaurant
for dinner but in true form, she insisted on cooking for her sons and me.
Above is the meal she made us. AND this was not nearly all she made for us.
There were two kinds of meat, ribs and chicken, salad and a Trifle for dessert.
This is traditional African fare complete with "Sadza,"pronounced sud-sah, and gravy.
The gravy is tomato based with various veggies and a little spiciness to it.
At 75, and with knee trouble, Mrs. Murapa takes great pride in providing good home-cooked food for her boys when they are both there. The Murapa's eat their traditional food with their Hands, but I like to stick with A fork and knife in an effort to reduce the high risk of catastrophic mess.
Sadza is white corn meal cooked in water on the stove over low heat for quite a while
until it thickens and becomes scoop-able
with the fingers.
Sadza takes between 20 - 30 mins, standing at the stove stirring continually, to make.
After dinner, with a full belly, Tau-ie found a little moment for some shut-eye before we went for a proper English stroll
. . . I found in this moment my opportunity to snap a photo unbeknownst to him, and of pictures in the living
room from his childhood.
Look at the sass on that young man's face! Hahaha!
So we went for an evening walk, left at 8pm. The light is long in the summer months in England
giving us ample time until 10pm each evening.
I took quite a few photos of the Hintlesham area
In an attempt to capture its pastoral, picturesque perfection.
The first on the left is the oldest of the three and dates back to the Victorian era and sports a fresh coat of Royal Mail red. The second would have been during the reign of both George V and his son, George VI, so they got some milage out of the GR post boxes. The third, in glossy grey, is the newest of the selection and of course it sports a gorgeous crown and ERII for Her Majesty Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and of Her other Realms and Territories, Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith.
Tau brought the mail boxes to my attention as we strolled through Hintlesham. If you know me at all you know I love snail mail and stamps and cancelled stamps and handwritten things. For me there is something special about a note, a story, a letter that someone has held and written especially for another, by hand, wherever they are in the world. The writer then wraps it in a mere sheet of paper, folded, with glue and sends it, all faith enstored in the hands of others to get it there, for a small amount of change.