” The Dying Year Was So Beautiful”… a Memory Worth Reliving

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Dear Reader:

* By accident I came across a two-day reflection blog I did January 9 and 10 of 2015. The day I returned home from the beach, Friday June 10, my blog was going crazy….up, up, up with viewers. I couldn’t imagine what was so interesting about my little blog talking about coming back home and I was right.

Instead of June 10…..the January 10 blog on remembering Ireland was shooting up into the skies. I don’t know what caused the strange conglomeration of dates to switch but I thought since there seems to be so much interest….I would take it back a day and get both posts on Ireland included for Wednesday and Thursday’s blog. 

My original blogs had been removed from the problematic incident two years ago on November 19 and I remember thinking that I didn’t want my thought and memories of Ireland gone forever. 

When I look at the cardboard cut-outs of Eva Cate and Rutledge…they don’t even look like the same children. “Time waits for no man.: So without further adieu…Ireland revisited. 

………………………………..

Dear Reader:

The first week in October last year…I took three really big baskets of mums around to all my girls…Mandy, Mollie, and Kaitlyn. The baskets of flowers were gargantuan ….and filled with too many blooms to count…just waiting to burst open with life and joy!

photo 2 (Of course…I had to get me one of those huge mum baskets too to put in my garden!)

Yesterday when I quickly patrolled the garden to see if anything had survived the frigid night…there lay the seemingly black dead mums from the October mums… now brittle and lifeless.

photo 1  However, upon closer inspection, hiding under the dead stems was new life…beautiful, green stems fighting to stay alive amidst the formidable (below freezing) temperatures. (I gathered up all the mums and put them in my garage.)

What a great lesson for us all…even in dying..there is new life waiting for its opportunity to show us a new home.

In Archibald Rutledge’s (Poet Laureate of South Carolina and one-time owner of Hampton Plantation) book God’s Children he has this (following) quote which has remained with me since first reading it…simply because… it is just so “doggone” peaceful and lilting to the human ear.

“It was late October and the dying year was so beautiful, as only lovely things departing can be beautiful.”

Even as I was giving three gorgeous baskets of bright yellow mums away… back in October…in reality…they, too, were already in the “dying year and invisibly departing in their own beautiful way.”

I think what Rutledge is saying in this quote…as I consider myself in the “autumn” of my life…that from the moment we all take our first breath…we are (knowingly or unknowingly) dying… until we take our last.

Normally we give thoughts like this little of our time or contemplation…until one day we hear the diagnosis of a challenging form of breast cancer. It was only then, for me, that I understood the intimate relationship between life and death.

It was only when I was faced with the possibility of death…that I really began to live. It was like Someone took a bottle of Windex and cleaned the vision around my being. Suddenly colors were magnified…like seeing everyday life in 3-D.

I was drawn to laughter, children’s voices, music, art, and nature in a way I had never fully appreciated. Instantly, I was more alive and feeling happier than I ever remember… …as if I had popped out of Mother Earth’s womb with a second chance to “see” what I had missed…what I had taken for granted the first time around.

Regrets over missed opportunities, from my first life, would descend from time to time. Instead of crying over “spilt milk” I decided to start rectifying my lost opportunities.

Thus…last June found me in Ireland with Anne Peterson. I had always wanted to go there, especially to Dingle, Ireland, and now opportunity came knocking at the door. Anne was renting a cottage for almost a month and asking friends and family to come stay for different parts of that time.

Without a moment’s hesitation I said “Yes! When do we go?”

Peggy Franklin, observed from an earlier blog that the single most viewed day for 2014- was the day John got our first batch of pictures from Ireland on the blog…almost a thousand views that day. Peggy wanted to see them and of course, they were privatized along with all the rest of four years of stories.

So I have decided to begin taking a day or two a week and pulling pictures and stories, from earlier posts no longer available to viewers. I, also, see the need to update new viewers on some history pertaining to the blog.

…(In order to help viewers who have just joined us since November 25  understand better the original reason for starting the blog, the role of St. Jude’s Chapel of Hope in my life, an explanation for Scheherazade’s story competition which ended successfully for me in 2013 with 1002 stories told to beat Scheherazade’s 1001 Arabian Nights tales…and other needed bits of “lost” information.)

Today I will end the blog with pictures from our first stop in Ireland…Dingle!

I hope you enjoy.

* One quick bit of information for my new readers….My four year-old granddaughter,Eva Cate, was sad that she couldn’t go with her Boo Boo to Ireland…especially since she is into princesses and castles.

So I had enlarged a cardboard picture made of her and Rutledge to take with me and share in my adventures…culminating in a scrapbook… dedicated to both of them.

Never did I dream that this personal “project” would introduce me to so many new people (“my people”…retirees) who enjoyed the idea of taking the “grandchildren” with them on a trip abroad…without any of the “problems” of taking the grandchildren with them abroad.

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It all began innocently enough…Tim dropped Anne and I off at the Charleston airport…Do you see the Detour sign above our heads…it should have had a blinking warning icon next to it.

The “Luck of the Irish” would have to be drowned in beer at the “detour” airport bar… as we would end up losing an entire day in Ireland due to a “detour” because of bad thunderstorms in Philly….where we were scheduled to depart for Ireland that evening. (We would actually leave the following evening.)

So we had to detour to Charlotte, stay in a “sketchy” hotel (at best) fly to Philly early the next morning… and spend the whole day there at the airport waiting to fly out that evening.

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On the flip side, however, the Rutledge and Eva Cate cut-outs lured a good-looking man into conversation with me all the way to Charlotte (way too short a flight)…things were turning around quickly.

And then a white knight came to our rescue …Anne’s beautiful niece  met us in Philly and showed us the town while Ben Franklin shared some wisdom with the “grandchildren.”

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By the second night when we finally left the good ole’ USA for Ireland…we were exhausted! The flight was jammed pack…because lots of other people had gotten bumped from the night flight before too…with the summer thunderstorms. But we were just happy to be in any seat as long as would wake up in Ireland! (I just partied on with a location wedding party fired up and ready to celebrate!)

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We did it….we finally got a car rented (will not even go into the havoc surrounding that encounter of the third kind) and then drove (on the right side) towards Dingle…the closer we got the  more beautiful the land and sea became.

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We stayed at a wonderful B&B and immediately headed into the delightful seaside village of Dingle….first thing…to ride Fungi…at least the sculptured one…the adopted dolphin of Dingle at the marina. (Later we took a boat tour and got to see the real one)

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We took several tours during our stay at Dingle and then also squeezed in some adventures on our own….saw where the movie Ryan’s Daughter was filmed and where Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman honeymooned in happier times.  Some beach walks, great restaurants, and wonderful entertainment!

Everything, it seemed, was named Dingle in Dingle…”A dingle dingle here and a dingle dingle there!”img_1126img_1125img_1011

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One morning while looking through a history book on Dingle…a picture appeared that gave me a start….does anybody else see a resemblance between this little resident of Dingle (back in the Great Depression) and our little Rutledge Dingle today-on the right?) I believe the “Black Irish” genes are in full force.

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It was our last night in Dingle which turned out to be the most fun….we heard some wonderful Irish music coming from a pub that lured us in…. We ended up having dinner there and stayed until the musicians closed down the place.

I don’t remember ever clapping or tapping so much in my life. The two young men were so gracious afterwards….to let me hang with them (and the cut-outs )  and let Anne take a picture of the “whole” group to remember this fun night by….

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Before we left the next morning…I had one last mission to accomplish…there was a restaurant/tavern at the end of one street in Dingle, originally called Walsh’s Townhouse….but sometime right before we arrived…it changed names.

photo  I was able to talk to the proprietor (last name Walsh) and explained that my son’s name was Walsh Dingle and he had a little boy named Rutledge Dingle…she immediately grabbed a little teddy bear with the inscripted Dingle on its woolen sweater for me to take back to Rutledge, as a gift, with her regards. A great way to leave one of the most beautiful locations in the world with beautiful, friendly people!

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Tomorrow I will finish off the pictures of our later adventures in the Burren (rocky, craggy) area of Ireland and then the mountains! A miracle even appears in the later episodes.

So until tomorrow…Let us see life anew and take advantage of all opportunities to “engulf” our amazing Father’s World and meet the most wonderful people along our journey!

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

 IMG_0011 (1)  I heard from Mike and Honey yesterday…isn’t Cocoa growing…precious? She has adjusted quite well to living in the mountains… (Mike says she is “gifted”)… until maybe yesterday morning.

Honey and Mike woke up to 06. to 08. degrees up there on “dem dare mountains” near Hendersonville, NC …it couldn’t even muster up one degree! Unfortunately the water is no longer running. Mike sent me a comment that the Effie “funnies” on the blog motivated him to clean out closets yesterday. You go Mike!

 Mike and Honey said that a few prayers thrown their way for running water would be quite appreciated! Y’all have got it Burrells….we will all pray for running water your way! BURR!

* One hour after I typed this I called Honey to check on her and Mike and they had just gotten their running water back…I told her what I had just typed…and we laughed….the blog readers must have a ‘hot-line” upstairs!

photo * I had a sweet email, last evening, from Chrissy, my physical therapist for the last three months. We exchanged emails and I gave her my blog website last week at our last appointment.

She mentions that she believes there is a reason that our paths crossed and I felt it too….God definitely played a role in both of us being able to support the other along our individual journey.

Miss Dingle,
You are so sweet and special in my heart! I am so touched by your kindness and just the simple fact that our paths have crossed in life for a reason! I am very hopeful that this year will bring joy to both of us as we keep moving forward in this journey! 
I will most definitely give you a call so we can get together again soon!
As I sit and respond to you my handsome son is in the shower singing “O come all ye faithful” over and over with his own words thrown in as he does not know the verse! This is what I call a beautiful thing!!! Brings endless smiles to my face! 
Thank you again for your positive energy that so naturally flows from you!
Take care
Chrissy

About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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