Cycling Along The Way...

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Silver City, NM, United States
Riders of the wheel. Racers, Roadies, Mountain bikers, Touring cyclists, Commuters, and others. Diamond frames, recumbents, trikes, and more. Sharing a web of connections often misunderstood or unappreciated by those who don't ride. Herewith, my attempt to share some of the more rational thoughts that flit around inside my head while bicycling, knocking back a brew or three, or just thinking about life. Reviews of bicycles, gear, touring, and more, plus some unsolicited posts about people, politics, and philosophy. Other things, too. Me: retired, gave up my TV in 1988, avid cyclist, several cross country tours completed with more to come. Your thoughts?

Monday, March 18, 2013

St. Patrick's Day 2013

My favorite Irish toast:

"Here's to cheating, stealing, fighting, and drinking.
If you cheat, may you cheat death.
If you steal, may you steal a woman's heart.
If you fight, may you fight for a brother.
And, if you drink, may you drink with me."
~ Unknown

And another that I find quite true:

"When money's tight and hard to get
And your horse is also ran, 
When all you have is a heap of debt
A pint of plain is your only man."
~ Flann O'Brien

And a new one just found:

"A glass in hand is worth two on the shelf."
~ Unknown

This past Saturday night, Eileen and I held our 14th annual St. Patrick's Day party at our house.  Our first St. Patrick's Day party was in 2000 at our home in Albuquerque, NM, just after we'd gotten married.  My friend, George Van Stry, and his wife, Nohemi, went in on the party with us.  We bought a quarter keg of Full Sail Amber Ale, which, I might add, is a truly good amber ale...darker than most amber ales, a bit hoppy and very tasty.  Musician friends of Eileen's came over and we had a fine evening.  Unfortunately, the crowd was more of a lighter beer drinking crowd, so, the next day, Eileen and I sat in lawn chairs in the backyard, smoking a cigar, drinking some of the Full Sail, while I poured most of it on the ground...all while apologizing to my Dad for committing the sacrilege of dumping good beer on the ground.  Thought for certain I'd be sent to hell for that move alone!

Things improved after that...George and Nohemi continued to join us in hosting the annual party.  We bought Fat Tire Ale, which the crowd drank, and there was no more dumping beer into the ground the day after the party.  We also began paying some friends to play for our parties.  George and Nohemi invited their friends; we invited ours.  Some were the same, but most of the folks got a chance to meet/make some new friends.  That was a good plus to our party.  The party actually reached a point where the beer, food, and music was just all seemed to be in sync and ran out at the same time to end the party.  After the party was over, Eileen, me, and a few other friends would sit around and have a shot of Jameson Irish whiskey and toast another successful party.

Since moving to Silver City, NM, the party has continued on and the music has gotten even better!  The odd thing here is that more people drink wine rather than beer.  So, I just buy less beer and usually in bottles...but good beer, nonetheless.  One of the joys that we've experienced here is that we've been able to have Paddy Jones, a traditional Irish fiddler from Tralee, Ireland, come to our party and we've added a true Irish Seisuin to the night.  Paddy is only one of four traditional Irish fiddlers, who are still alive, that studied under Padraig O Caimh (O'Keefe), who is considered the Slaibh Luachra fiddle master.  Here's a photo...and Paddy Jones looks like this, too.

Padraig O Caimh (O'Keefe)
Paddy Jones plays in the Slaibh Luachra style of Irish fiddling.  Slaibh Luachra is an area in Munster, Ireland.  This area of Ireland is recognized nationally and internationally as the bedrock of traditional Irish music, song, dance, poetry, and culture.  And we are blessed to have this man play his fiddle at our house.  How good is that?  
Eileen, Barb, Paddy, and Rus in our living room on 3/16/13
 Rus Bradburd, the author of the book, "Paddy on the Hardwood", (Clyde, if you're reading this, you'd enjoy this book.) lives in Las Cruces, NM, with his wife, Connie, and their daughter, Alma.  He brings Paddy to America annually, after becoming friends with him in Tralee, where Rus coached the Tralee Tigers basketball team.  Rus played old timey music in Las Cruces, but wanted to learn Irish music, so he was told about Paddy Jones...and took lessons from him.  Thus, the book's title.  Thus, Paddy's at our parties now.

Here's a video of Rus and Paddy playing a tune together:

Here's a video of Paddy Jones playing by himself up in Taos, NM:

Now, having lived in several very big cities in my life, I've never had the opportunities to meet people from all over the world like I have in Silver City, NM.  Paddy Jones is another great part of our St. Patrick's Day party now.  I would never have imagined this possible...and I'm very thankful to the powers that be to have blessed our house with Paddy's music.  Slainte!

The party this past weekend was a success, again, and Paddy was marvelous, as were all the players who joined in.  It such great fun to listen to these people play.  Another friend, Roger Skaggs from Glenwood, NM, also plays some great ol' timey music, which he did for our enjoyment at the end of the party.  Like Paddy, Roger plays from his heart and it shows in his music.  Just a wonderful time.  One of the downsides of aging is that time goes by faster, but, with our St. Patrick's Day party and the great music, having time fly by faster means the party will be here soon once again!  I am happy.

 Now, I can't close without mentioning those others who come to our party, like me, that don't play an instrument but their presence makes the party because they add "who they are" to the mix of food, drink, and music.   Without them, the music would be great but the party would not be a party.  Thanks to all who help make our St. Patrick's Day party the fun that it is every year!  And thanks for the good food y'all bring.

Ok, a Padraig O Caimh tune to exit with..."The Frieze Britches" by Paudeen O'Rafferty performed by Padraig O Caimh (O'Keefe).

And a more modern tune for those of us wishing for a united Ireland performed by Mary Black, a truly fine Irish singer, doing "A Song For Ireland".

Now, I'm sure quite a few of you have heard the term "Black and Tan", referring to a beer mixed with stout and a lighter beer, and believe it's what it's called in Ireland.  Trust me, this term is NOT used in Ireland.  The Black and Tans refers to the British paramilitary force in Ireland during the 1920's and no one in Ireland orders a "Black and Tan"'s considered disrespectful.  Instead, they refer to it as a "half and half".  The Wolfe Tones perform an Irish rebel song appropriate for the Black and Tans called "Come Out Ye Black and Tans".  For your enjoyment...and may Ireland be united, peacefully, in our lifetime.  And may the Brits grow up someday and apologize for their slaughter.  Ah, but the Queen's mouth is shut tight.