Day Two in New York – Sunday 15th March 2015
In a previous blog, I mentioned that one of the many reasons that justified my trip to the Big Apple, was to visit relatives.
Do you know the exact address of YOUR extended family scattered about the world?
Well, I had only a vague idea of where my rellies were, and did not fully investigate their address until I was ensconced on site at ‘base camp’ that was Mamaroneck, and iphone in hand.
I knew the rellies lived in Scarsdale (remembered easily due to the mad diet my mother was always on in the 70’s and 80’s) but I had no idea where Scarsdale was in relation to New York city and Mamaroneck.
Well would you believe it but – according to Google maps, and GPS – we were a mere 10 minutes drive from the rellie’s house in Scarsdale!
Now here’s the thing – Rellies has a broad term doesn’t it?
My true blood relatives, are the O’Farrell-Gallo side, and their very good friends, the Dunnes, have become ours too over the years.
Tim and Cindy Dunne visited us during the summer of 2014 in West Cork, and naturally, the courtesy was being extended as I was now on their home turf.
There is no way I could have left American soil without linking up with them.
In any case, the arrangements were that we would all meet at the Dunne’s in Scarsdale on Sunday, for a late morning brunch.
So we descended en masse to Scarsdale with a gift of a good bottle of wine, and obligatory giant bars of Cadbury’s chocolate. I had an additional gift for the Dunnes.
My brother, Fergus O’Farrell, is a singer song writer. And he wanted me to pass on a couple of CD’s of his two albums to the Dunnes. While Fergus’s songs are available commercially (visit his web site here) one of these songs was particularly special and he wanted to give signed copies to them.
Bear with me as I now FLASHBACK to the summer 2014 when Tim and Cindy had visited us in Ireland. Cindy was telling us as part of the general chit chat that she was now retired and had the time to volunteer with the Pine Ridge Lakota reservation and specifically, with the Lakota Children’s Enrichment foundation – this was as a result of their daughter, Maggie, who works very closely with the Lakota children on the reservation. As it natural with these things, Maggie’s mother had taken an interest too.
I added my bit that, I felt the Irish could relate (if even just a little) having had our share of colonisation and banishment, oppression, genocide, treaty breaking etc. I shared the story of how good the Native American’s had been to the Irish during the Great Famine (1845-52), sending over funds, following their own Trail of Tears.
To think, the Native American Indians had so little and gave so much to our people.
And I shared news of how, in recognition of this wonderful aid, there is a sculptor planned to be unveiled in Cork. (For details of this see more here)
Back to us at brunch in the USA Spring 2015 and I was delighted to pass on my brother’s CD which features his song ‘Gold’ (as sung in the movie Once, and performed as part of the Broadway show)
These CD’s do not have the original version which includes has a speech recorded that precedes the song.
Fergus had written a personal note to the Dunnes, included in the CD, explaining that the song, although perceived as a love song, was actually an environmental song that had been inspired by a speech he had heard.
I played the original version song to the full room and wasn’t I thrilled to be able to report that the speech was delivered by the Great Grand daughter of Chief Hollow Horn, of the Lakota tribe. ( I will include a link here once I figure out how to upload to audio to the blog so you can hear the full rendition)
This as you can imagine made a wonderful impression. Great discussion followed as to the coincidence etc.
Admittedly, while Fergus never knew the Lakota connection when he wrote the song, we are only delighted to now put the two together.
Serendipity? Fate? Maybe the Great Spirit would have a say on that.
In any case, the morning was filled by a circle of friends, new and old, sharing food, chatting, and exchanging stories.
There was that special moment when I realised how wonderful these kind of gatherings are – and how lucky I was to be right in the middle of it. My mind slipped back to a time when the same lands might have had a tribe somewhere near by where others too may have gathered, shared stories and exchanged gifts.
There was no mass for me on that Sunday – but I figure any God wouldn’t have minded.