There are times when I just love Ireland!
Monday evening was one of those times. The father of a dear friend had died, and was being "waked" in their home. I'm not sure if you know what "Waked" is, or whether it's practised in other countries, so a brief explanation.. the body is laid out, in a coffin, in the house overnight and family, friends, neighbours, come to visit and pay their last respects. Prayers are also said- many Rosaries would be recited throughout the wake.
It is a tradition that I love, much more than the modern practice of a funeral home. To me, it's more personal, and somehow signifies the person's last connection with their home, and gives everyone the chance to say goodbye in a cosy, not clinical setting. And family, friends and neighbours bring food, and take turns making large pots of tea for those who have come for that last visit. Stories involving the dead person will be recounted throughout the night, sometimes stuff the family would never hear otherwise.
Now I do realise that sometimes it's not practical. And also wakes have gotten a bad reputation over the years as drinking sometimes was a big part of the whole affair.
Back to the story. Myself and a friend, T, travelled down the country to this wake on Monday afternoon. We had the address of the local church and Hubbie loaded up this gadget
so we wouldn't get lost. The intention was that we'd stop and ask somebody for directions to the house when we reached the church. I didn't want to ring the bereaved friend for directions.
So, Garmin directed us down a narrow, winding country road, and both T and I decided this couldn't be right, so we U-turned and went back to the main road. On to a petrol station a little bit down, and we stopped there to ask for directions. Two old guys were leaning on the counter having a chat:
Us:" Do any of you know Patrick Smith who died a few days ago?"
Old guys:" Ah poor auld Pa Smith, shurr we knew him well, are ye goin to the wake?"
Us: "Well yes, but we're a bit lost"
Old guys: "Now what part of the country would ye be from?"
Us: "Dublin. Could you give us directions to the house?"
Old guys: "Would ye be friends of his daughter? He had 4 daughters but only the wan son".
Us:" We are, we're friends of E, she teaches with us. Could you give us directions to the house?".
Old guys: "Above in Dublin, is it? Ah yes, I remember E when she was a little wan. Lovely family, the Smiths, they all were lovely children."
Us:" Could you give us directions to the house please?"
Old guys, bringing us to the door of the petrol station and pointing down the road:"Go down there, take a right, drive down a little bit. Now you'll come to a cross roads, but go straight through, then you come to a V and take the left then......."
Us: "Sorry, could you say all that again?"
Old guys: "Do you know what, just follow our car, we'll drive down to show you where it is".
Garage guy:"But I thought you were waiting to meet your brother from the bus?"
Old guys: "Just tell him to hang on, we'll be back in a little while, we're gone to show these ladies the way to Pa Smith's wake".
So, true to their word, they drove, making sure we were following and took all the correct turns, and pulled up outside Pa Smith's house, bid us goodbye and went back to the petrol station to collect the brother! No big deal, just what you would do for a neighbour, dead or alive.