I am, like nearly all Americans (I assume it's still true), a mutt. I'm party British. Everybody named Stephens or Stevens can trace at least part of his or her lineage back to the same village in England, if what I'm told is true. I like to think it is. I'm also aware of being part German. I might be a fraction of some other things, but I think I'm mostly Irish. From the Holleran clan. Hope I'm spelling that right. Actually, it's the O'Holleran clan, though they apparently dropped the O when they came to America. In my mind it's full of romance--my ancestors came here to flee the great potato famine, searching for a better life. I have no idea whether that's what actually happened, though I could probably find out. I think I won't try. Better a romantic fantasy than a boring reality.
I said I think I am mostly Irish, but what I should have said is that I FEEL mostly Irish. There's nothing really intellectual about it. I don't know that my ancestry is more Irish than anything else. I just feel Irish. I have been drawn to all things Irish since before I really knew what all things Irish were. Even as a child, I was fascinated by the sad lilting strains of Celtic music. The first time I heard Enya, I thought that she was speaking my language, even though she was singing in a tongue I didn't know. Same with The Chieftains. The mixture of a loud, boisterous exterior and a brooding melancholy interior is, well, me. The pipe and it's guttural, crying voice speaks to me like no other instrument. A close second would be the cello, for much the same reason, though the two couldn't sound much different. It's deep. It's dark. It's pensive.
I think that's part of why I love West Virginia so much. The foggy, dark mountains look like so many of the pictures I've seen of Ireland. If I can't live on the Emerald Isle, give me West Virginia. I talk of moving to the beach when I retire, but I don't believe I could ever fully leave my beloved home state behind--unless it meant moving to Ireland. But even then, I would have to come back from time to time.
Being Irish isn't all good, to be sure. My Irish temper is quite pronounced. I like to say I've learned to control it and become more contemplative over the years, but I fear I'd be lying if I did. Like I sometimes say to my students, some things are just baked right in. I guess my friends and family would have to say whether I'm better than I used to be. I do know I'm quite mercurial. I'm quick to anger, but also quick to forget. I can be in the throes of misery one minute and in the throes of laughter the next. It's just me.
Not sure exactly what the point of this ramble was. Not sure there was one. Not sure there needs to be one. Just had some things in my head that wanted to come out and here they are. If I didn't let them out, they probably would've given me a headache and then eventually have leaked out, taking some of my brain cells with them, and I need all I can keep.