Is it even POSSIBLE??? Can it be that March is again at hand,
bringing with it that most hallowed of Spring Holidays - St.
Well, yes and yes. 'Tis true, my friends, though hard to believe,
that another year has surprised us, and we find ourselves again
perched on the cold, stone wall of another dying Winter, gazing
down onto the green meadows of another approaching Spring.
And as you well know it would not be March without another
bit of shamrockery from yours truly. Here we go, then...
As space is limited, I will be brief. I want to share with you
a couple of anecdotes concerning a young Irish lad named Joe.
Joe was born to a Dublin Chaplain in the early 1800's, and
almost from birth exhibited a prodigious and somewhat iconoclastic
wit. Ireland being Ireland, and the early 1800's being the early
1800's, you may well believe that the Chaplain's household was
most devoutly pious - prayers were said every morning before
breakfast, for example, and it is certain that young Joe, an
avid reader from the earliest of ages, was well familiar with
the illustrated homilies so common for children in those days:
essentially picture books with some moral written at the bottom
of each picture, presumably created to lead the diminutive reader's
thoughts away from sin and temptation.
By the time our Joe was five or six, he had begun creating
his own such books. One picture depicted two men in the process
of falling out of a hot air balloon, and plummeting downward
to their death. The caption at the bottom read: "See the
effects of trying to go to Heaven."
By the time Joe entered his teens he had developed the regrettable
habit of being extremely tardy on occasion, most notably for
the aforementioned "breakfast prayers". One morning,
the actual meal was very nearly done by the time the lad made
his way to the table. His father had had enough. Holding his
watch in front of him, he asked his son sternly, "I ask
you, Joseph, I ask you seriously, is this right?"
Young Joe, without batting an eye, gave a look at his father's
watch and replied, "No, sir - I'm sure it must be fast."
Joe would of course grow up, as we all must (so they say).
You perhaps know him better as the great J. Sheridan Le Fanu,
author of some of the most horrifyingly chilling ghost stories
the Victorian era ever produced...