Sunday, March 17, 2013

My Family's Bloody Irish Hand.

First Grade on Saint Patricks Day. All the kids were drawing pictures of shamrocks, pots of gold, and leprechauns--everyone except me.

We all got to present our drawings in front of class. I stood up to show my work of art. It was a Crayola masterpiece. There was a landscape of green Irish hills, a pristine beach, and a bloody severed hand lying in the sand. There were two cartoon clouds. One said "We made it!". The other said, "Go Ireland!!!". That was one of the proudest moments of my childhood. Now hold on. Hear me out. I wasn't sick and twisted. I was just sharing my family's history.

I stood up and told my classmates the story of my ancestor O'Neil, one of the first kings of Ireland. O'Neil had to compete in a boat race to win the kingship. The deal was that whoever touched the shore first would be crowned king. The boats were so neck and neck that he wasn't sure if he would make it. I guess O'Neil was creative, determined and partially bat shit crazy so he reached for his sword, cut off his hand and threw it to the shore. He was probably called stubby for quite some time, but guess what?!? He touched the shore first and became king! Who's gonna mess with him or argue with that? Jeesh. And with my own crazy determination, it's no wonder I'm related to this guy.

The kids in my first grade class all thought that was an awesome story. Lots of ooo's and ahhh's came from my very attentive 6 year-old audience, but my teacher was not impressed at all.

Later that day my mom got a phone call from her. She called her in to "talk" about my picture. My mother went in and my teacher said, "Your daughter drew this in class today," with a disturbed tone and a frown. My mother looked at it and said, "Oh! I'm so proud!!!". We were probably looked at like we were the Adams Family, but my mother had every right to be proud. Mom told me the story of O'Neil many times. She was never sure how much I absorbed it, but that picture proved that I embraced our family story with every cell, even though I was only six years old. I think it's still one of her proudest moments as a mother. :-)

Here's the family crest with the bloody red hand. Happy Saint Patricks Day.

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