It is one of the longest days of the year and I am in great form altogether on all fronts as the sun shines and the trees whisper with pleasure and Belle the cat dreams on Maisie's warmest windowsill, the front paws clenching and unclenching slowly with pure sensual pleasure, the swallows away up high above and, since we are in the aftermath of Bloomsday above in Dublin, which I visited yesterday, and since it is almost the longest day of the whole summer I have decided, just like that, to follow along a golden stream of consciousness which Joyce got away with in his heyday and write the longest sentence to appear in any column like this in the whole English-speaking world this week or most weeks of any year.
With the first tidings being that the boyos in the American Embassy relented last Tuesday morning and, against all the odds, finally agreed to grant me a visa to enter the U.S. next month to attend the Irish Arts Festival in the Catskills and according to them the visa will arrive in Clare by courier inside the next 24 hours and I will then be reunited with my passport
which, for whatever reason, they hung on to after my interview at a glass window with, in fairness, a quite pleasant officer who hoped I would enjoy myself and for sure I will, God willing, and lively only daughter Ciara is traveling over with me just for the company and more craic like we had before a few times in Europe and that's great because the Dutch Nation was too busy to make the trip because we are in the process of moving out of
Maisie's and buying a new home, as I told ye before, in the heritage town of Killaloe on the other side of the county.
And those amongst you who have gone through that home-moving process know only too well how much work is involved
and, would ye believe it, for whatever reason, we received five or six more expressions of interest in buying Maisie's yesterday, and when I am finished writing this sentence I will have to courteously respond to each of them saying that we have sold Maisie's already to the decent man I was telling you all about last week.
And it is a bit strange, in the interim period before we move on, for me to think that I no longer own the warm windowsill Belle is sleeping on or the long sweep of thatched roof above that upon which Dave the Thatcher will be perched doing a bit of patchwork for the new owner any of these fine days and indeed fine they are and have been for more than a week, which, in further tidings.
I pray will continue into the beginning of July because I was delighted to receive an invitation to an evening of craic at the beginning of July in Arney Hall in my birthplace parish in Fermanagh and I have not been in Arney for a lifetime but I am going up for sure -- before the Catskills jaunt --because it will be a fascinating evening garnished by the presence of the distinguished Indiana University don Henry Glassie who wrote a famous work about our home parish called Ballymenone -- it must be 50 years ago now -- telling the old hearth side yarns and customs of that time from the mouths and memories of those who were the keepers of that folklore.
Like my father Sandy, in the special generation before my time but, again, in all fairness I have my own forties and fifties childhood memory of parochial concerts in the old Arney Hall.
Jimmy Murphy's polished recitations and Matt Snow's elemental stepdancing and the humor of Johnny Leonard, Pee Flanagan on the fiddle, my brother Cathal already able to make the rafters ring with his first penny whistle, three act plays usually comedies crowning the evening and raffle tickets sixpence each, three for a shilling to raise parochial funds, and the upcoming evening with Henry Glassie will have to be very good to be better than those nights were and.
I think this sentence is long enough now and Belle is scraping at my bare toes demanding her dinner and I am in the humor of heading down to the Honk for one earlier-than-usual pint of beer before settling down to watch the World Cup for an hour or two so can I please go away now?
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