March/April 2004



Is it even POSSIBLE??? Can it be that March is again at hand, bringing with it that most hallowed of Spring Holidays - St. Patrick's Day???

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...