Sunday, November 13, 2011


I've always loved the word "boreen" an Irish word, anglicised for every day use in Ireland. It means "little road". Bothair (bo-her) being the Irish for road. Add "een" to anything in Ireland and you have the diminutive. Little Mary=Maureen (maura + een). Little woman=Colleen (caill is woman or old woman + een).

I was having a day of frustrations and minor disappointments yesterday. Nothing earth shaking, just a series of what-else-can-go-wrong-and-then-it-does kind of days.

I took this picture of a boreen heading off down the main road not too far from my house. Outsiders aren't aware of the enormous number of lakes (called ponds) in Newfoundland. We have thousands. Every time you turn a corner there is a seascape or a lakescape. This man was taking in his boat for the season. There is much trouting on our lakes.

Then I forced myself to go to a party. A Ruby (40th) wedding anniversary of dear friends. They'd booked a huge hall. 120 of those present were going to be relatives. The other 10 were close friends. I am honoured to be considered thus.

I'm not a fan of going to big parties or dances or dinners by myself. Visions of my lonesome at a solitary table hauling over a candle and reading a book extracted from my large purse while merriment and enjoyment surround me. Or knitting quietly in a corner pretending I'm one of those mad women out of fiction. Or best of all, happilly at home having refused to go on some flimsy excuse.

Anyway I went. I clung like an infant to my hosts for a while but pried myself off them when I realized they had other guests so went off, got myself a water and barged up to a large table and asked to join them. (Do any of you realize what absolute bravery this takes? No?)

And yeah, I had, oh, about 8 dances. Grand dances. Booty shaking dances. Laughy dances.

And then one of the women and I at the table get talking. She was a widow of two years and told me she didn't know how she got out of bed every morning. She was a sister of my bride-host. She'd lost her husband of 42 years the year before. But worse than that her only son had committed suicide three years before. He'd come home from up North with a failed relationship under his belt and she had found him in their garage the morning after, an apologetic note to her in his pocket.

And all of a sudden my day took on a new light. And today - which is again full of frustration and disappointment - is just another day. And I had no trouble getting out of bed to partake in it.

My boreen ain't half bad.


  1. It's funny how we have unexpected moments of bravery and breaking out of our comfort zones. They are usually of importance for some reason or another. I'm a believer that everything happens for a reason and every person we meet is for a reason...if only to remind us that our 'boreens' are "not half bad." Thank you for sharing, WWW.

  2. I know what you mean about going to these large gatherings on your own. I'm uncomfortable with them too and would rather stay home. I feel they're seldom worth going to. You did meet someone with another boreen however.I very rarely do as my own boreen is quite gruesome, not that I talk about it. I never do as a matter of fact. I don't want to shock people or have them feel pity for me. Maybe that is why I avoid these get togethers. There can be too much intimate talk. XOX

  3. what does mavoureen mean? My mom used to call me sharyn mavoureen. Can't imagine where she got that since we have no Irish in us.

  4. I wonder if you had a 'good' day, would you have gone to the party? Perhaps not, but you would have missed the chance to encounter that widow and be her listening ear. You were there for a reason!

    Keep dancing!

  5. It is difficult to respond to such a story but, it does drive home the point that we should be counting our blessings!

  6. I'm glad you went to the party and "winged it", all ways - even walking for a while in the moccasins of someone else, then feeling all the more comfortable in your own afterwards. :-)

  7. Quite. And ditto.

    Sometimes I moan and beef about everything, and sometimes I shut up and really look at my life.

    As you said, not half bad.

  8. I agree with Baygirl & were there for a reason.
    I found it hard to go to things as a single for a while.. now I just's usually a good thing.

  9. Most of the time we have so little idea of the inner traumas and anguish that other people are going through. I imagine she was glad to talk to you and confess her sense of loss.

    Yes, barging in on a table full of strangers takes an awful lot of nerve.

  10. My godmother's family lived in the Gaeltacht west coast of Ireland, up a boreen. It was picturesque and windy - but they did refer to it as the "boring boreen". Not much going on near them.

  11. In Ireland what we do when we don't know a word is use Google


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