(NEW YORK) -- “It’s not a lie. It’s just a little knot in the truth,” says Billy from Sligo. In his 30s. A hint of Ireland in the way he uses the language but not even a hint of a brogue.
“It’s like that Palin girl from Alaska. Says she can see Russia from her house. Me, I stand in my mother’s yard, I really can see the North of Ireland.”
But Billy, you were born on 12th Street and your mother’s yard is right off Queens Boulevard.
“Okay, my grandmother’s yard.”
Have you ever actually stood in your grandmother’s yard? Have you ever even BEEN to Sligo?
“I thought we were going to talk about the border.”
Yes, but you’ve changed the subject.
“No, it’s you who did the changing.”
Point taken. But how can one ask someone about what living near the border is like when you’ve never even BEEN to the border?
“It’s merely a pesky detail.”
Okay, pesky detail, why do you call the next country over “the North of Ireland” when it has its own name, which is “Northern Ireland?”
“No such country. It’s only the people who live there and in London that think there is. It’s just the north of Ireland.”
Relax, Billy. Have a glass of orange juice.
“You’re beginning to get my Irish up.”
A stereotype and cliche that’s beneath you.
Billy is an investment adviser. He helps people from the US with ties to Sligo and south thereof to find tax relief, sometimes here and occasionally offshore. But never in … ahem… The North of Ireland.
There are no known knots in the truth about his investments. And in the 21st century, no one much cares about the knots in the truth about his middle name, “from,” or his last, “Sligo.”
So what are you doing for St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow, Billy?
“The office is closed.”
The office is not closed. Just Billy. He’ll do what he always does, make his pilgrimage to Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Mulberry St., possibly the world’s only (former) cathedral which is closed on Sundays. Oh, yes, there’s mass. But visiting as Billy would say “not encouraged.”
Old St. Patrick’s has been around far longer than the North of Ireland was declared a separate country. It was around when Mulberry St. was referred to as “uptown.”
Billy loves the history. So that’s where he goes on St. Pat’s day.
He was, of after all, born on 12th Street, not on the shores of the River Garavogue or Sligo Bay and his mom still lives in Woodside.
--This is going to start like a bad joke, but it isn’t. A squat and frowning bulldog wandered into the garage the other night and so fierce was his face that he was frightening, even though on the small side. But that dog worked the room like a rockstar and now has a house full of new friends.
I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2015