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Friday, May 28, 2010

An Endearing Gift For Malarkey.

This morning as I was taking Tiger for his pre-dawn constitutional and toilet, I caught a glimpse of two men, one old and one young (but with an old and weary spirit), walking up Armory Street on the opposite side from me. I recognized both of them. They are alcoholics. Sadly, the younger one is one is working diligently on drinking himself to death. You can see the death in his face and feel it in his spirit. Pray for him.

Tiger abruptly halted, as is his want, to do his business so I turned toward him and away from the men. As I did, the older gentleman began to sing (from Oklahoma): "Oh what a beautiful morning! Oh what a beautiful day! I have a beautiful feeling, everything's going my way." He then, as I was stooping to pick up Tiger's deposit," said, "Thank you for doing your civic duty."

He's a gentle soul with a palpable kindness in him. He's a man who likes to stand on the street corner with his well-worn guitar and sing old folk songs, New England sea shanties and Irish drinking songs. His is the gift of gab and an amazing memory for songs. If he engages in you conversation, and is lit up a little, he soon breaks into a song when something you said reminds him of one. He also likes to be a little ribald in his song selection, nothing vulgar, mind you, just naughty with a twinkle in his eye.

He reminds me of my grandfather, Lawrence James McGovern who loved to sing, recite Irish poetry and Irish table graces (always with a glass held high to the heavens). He had a twinkle in his eye and the gift of malarkey, a penchant for bunkum - all of it good-natured. He could spin a tale and was seen by everyone as a "hail fellow, well-met." He used to take me hand-in-hand for ice cream when we lived in St. Paul. He also taught me all the makes and models of the cars passing by our picture window. I loved my grandfather and enjoyed his eccentric weirdness.

I have no hesitation saying I like the kindly Irish troubadour I saw again this morning as well. He is bright and engaging. He's really full of malarkey. Who knows how much of what he says is true. Still, the way he tells his stories sparkles. He entertains and amuses people with song and story, all for free. Something's unmistakably  humane about him and I suspect very lonely. He wants to connect, so I have a number of times

I appreciate his intelligent quirkiness and spirit of a quiet mirth. It lifts me.

He was grace this morning and I welcome his gift, malarkey or not.
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