I am Five.
Perhaps Six. And Seven.
Overnight visits with my two girl cousins.
Time away from the boys, and time with our
Irish, immigrant grandparents.
It is after dinner, which was pork chops. Mashed spuds.
Also – a glass of the precious Orange Soda we’re allowed.
It is after dinner, so Grandpa prepares his pipe and sits
in his red, upholstered rocker. He tamps the
Prince Alpert tobacco into the bowl.
Begins the complicated ritual of lighting and re-lighting
his beloved smoke.
In the corner of the living room is a black, square
record player, already old-fashioned, and a
small stack of 45 rpm records.
It is after dinner – so it’s time for Grammie to start up
the music and three, little girls to dance.
I have no idea if we knew any steps that resembled a
jig. And the records were the worst of Irish-American,
corny songs of the time.
I’ve since listened to fine musicians playing the best of traditional tunes.
I’ve also since learned that my grandparents taught Irish step-dancing
in the Parish Halls of their adopted city.
That night, I only knew my grandfather’s blue eyes,
already becoming rheumy with age, shone bright.
And the angels surrounded us and protected us.
And it was great fun to dance, and laugh, listen
to stories about the banshees, headless horsemen,
and, of course, all the saints be praised!