Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Shamrocks With Special Meaning

My dad will be gone 3 years this March. It seems so weird that time goes by as fast as it does, ...but it does, ...and that's that.

I don't know if I've ever shared this on the blog but I'm half Irish. My maiden name was Murphy if that's any clue. My grandfather was a tiny Irish man who came to America when he was only a teenager. He passed through the immigration inspection at Ellis Island and boxed his way through his younger years. A scrapper so to speak. 

Later, he met my grandmother who was also Irish, got a job as one of the head chefs for Henry Ford and fathered 9 children in a tiny bungalow in the "heydays" of Detroit, Michigan.

I remember he had a strong Irish brogue and pronounced my name as Jinnefaaarg. He told me stories of the Banshee (much to my mother's undoing) and I didn't sleep for weeks. My mom finally convinced me that even if it did exist, it would have to fly over the Atlantic Ocean to get me and that the Death Coach couldn't make it that far.  

So we're Irish...very Irish. We have bagpipes at weddings and funerals, many of my cousins and relatives wear kilts for special occasions and we fit every Irish stereotype there is. I'm 5"1" and I'm one of the tall ones, large calves, and pale...oh so pale. We all have the gift of the blarney, and we've been known to break out in spontaneous pub songs at any moment. My cousin Kelly became an attorney a few years back and when he graduated, I teased that he was the only Murphy to ever "pass" a "bar" in history, if you take my meaning.

I love my family. Such a large group of amazing, talented and kind hearted people who would give you the shirt off their back if you needed it. I'm the youngest of 31 grandchildren so there's a lot of love to share.  

When my dad died, one of my best friends ( knowing my Irish roots) bought us two beautiful baskets of Shamrocks. It was eerily convenient because St. Patrick's Day had just passed and the florists still had a good selection of Irish themed flower arrangements.

My mom and I pressed some of the shamrocks in a phone book to preserve them. And only recently have I figured out what to do with them.

I tried to find a mossy green matte to frame the pressed leaves...but not much luck. So I decided to make something myself.

I sketched out this sort of Celtic knot design  with the cross at the bottom.

and colored it a mossy green with brown shadows. I think it works. A nice sentiment of my father's memory and a small symbol of my heritage. 

"May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face
the rains fall soft upon your fields
and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand. "


Ian Holland said...

Very interesting! It's great to be able to talk about the past.

Meredith said...

Beautiful, Jennifer. The sentiments, the post, the memories and the symbol.
Heavy calves are Irish, huh? Now, I know which side of the family to blame!

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