News about the RKIDs
November 23, 2020
Taking advantage of lots of indoor time, Sonja and Marilyn O formed an RKID Book Discussion Group. The 31 members have read Black Potatoes: The Story of the Great Irish Famine, 1845-1850 by Susan Campbell Bartoletti and The Irish Bridget: Irish Immigrant Women in Domestic Service in America, 1840-1930 by Margaret Lynch-Brennan. The next book on the list is 97 Orchard: An Edible History of Five Immigrant Families in One New York Tenement by Jane Ziegelman. Although Zooming has its problems (all solved by Tom), the discussions have been lively and interesting.
“We’ve ended each session with an appropriate Irish tune. The first one was The Fields of Athenry about the Great Hunger; the second When New York was Irish about immigration,” explained Marilyn. “You know you’ve had a good discussion when Kevin and Liz get up to waltz.” There are other great tunes that would have worked well, like Kilkelly Ireland by Robbie O’Connell and Maura’s suggestion, The Streets of New York by the Wolf Tones.
Here's how the Irish Bridget session ended:
After the recent meeting, Liz found a photo of her home and her grandmother in Ireland. Liz said, “My home was 500 years old. The original house consisted of just the thatched area; later the other part was added. My grandmother’s only mode of transportation was her donkey, but in Ireland they called it an ass. Only when I came to the US did I find out it’s called a donkey. My family had two bicycles: one for the four girls and one for the five boys. In 1955 my uncle came to Ireland from America and left us his car.”
The next discussion will take place on Tuesday, January 19, 2021.
Congratulations to Alison! Her poem Writing was selected for inclusion in the Maryland Bards Poetry Review 2020 Anthology. After the book launch, the Anthology will be available on amazon.com. Stay tuned for the date. “Poems by a couple of my Poetry Evenings Club friends were selected for the anthology also,” noted Alison.
Alison also took time to participate in a Halloween party costume contest at work. “I lost but that was secondary for me. It was an excuse to dress up and not have to put on my Goodwill shirt. A coworker won the contest by a landslide. It was fun and I got a good scare. One of the guys was dressed as a clown from It. Pretty scary!”
“I bet you’ve driven by the Village Green many times over the years. I certainly have. I often wondered about it so I decided to stop one day.” That was the day Marilyn O discovered her new go-to place for breakfast or lunch. The cozy restaurant is located on the north side of the “hump” on Rt. 355 — the bridge that goes over the railroad tracks near the IHOP. Parking looks difficult, but there are several spots along the side and in the rear. “You can always park at the IHOP and walk over,” pointed out Marilyn. They have a hefty carry-out business, but if you opt for indoor dining, the tables are marked for social distancing. The menu includes a breakfast special and a variety of lunches, including some Middle Eastern dishes. Prices are reasonable. “I love having a local place to meet friends,” says Marilyn with a big smile.
Sonja has a few outdoor outings to suggest as we endure the pandemic. She says, “I find visiting outdoor exhibits to be one of the best ways to rejuvenate my spirits with all that is going on right now.” One spot is the Sandy Spring Museum which currently has a sculpture exhibit called LIGHT: A Sculptural Solar Dance. It’s on display on the lawn until November 29th. Another suggestion is the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden on the Mall in DC. It’s part of the Smithsonian and open 10-4. A local outdoor exhibit is at the Glenstone Museum, located in Potomac, which is operating at limited capacity Thurs – Sun 10-5. Scheduled visits are every 15 minutes. Maximum size group is 5. Admission to Glenstone is always free.
Marilyn W has a new look. “I’m sharing this photo to show you all that I have decided to let my hair go gray. It will probably take another year to grow out, but this Covid time is the perfect opportunity to look like a skunk … mostly in private.”
Emma arrived home recently from Ireland after a month-long visit. It wasn’t your ordinary journey to the land we all love. This time she was there to visit with her daughter and family, who have been living in Dublin for a year, but she left the US on October 20th, the very day Ireland began a lengthy lock-down due to the pandemic. For a government-mandated 14 days, Emma was confined to her daughter’s home and a 5-kilometer perimeter.
Not that she minded! Being confined to their home and neighborhood meant she was able to spend endless amounts of time with her grandchildren---taking them for walks, romping at the park, playing card games, and teaching them how to bake.
Emma said, “The airport and plane were empty and the few people around were all wearing masks. There were only 20 or so passengers onboard my flight home. In Ireland, they are taking the lock-down very seriously. Everything is closed except for supermarkets and they are only using credit cards. No cash.” Her daughter, Carla, explained it this way, “In Ireland, people really respect the rules.”
There are some RKIDs who are using their pandemic time to do some creative kitchen work.
Marilyn W reports that they (she and Bob) “Rarely eat out or carry in food. Rather, I’ve been trying out a lot of recipes I’ve collected for years. The photo shows a recent dinner. It is called Mediterranean Chicken: mayo mixed with Parmesan cheese. Easy to make and very yummy. The potatoes are baked with Parmesan and garlic.”
In Kingsport, Tennessee, there is a wonderful smell in the air as Evelyn perfects her baking skills. For the first time, she made homemade yeast cinnamon rolls, and then she made Linda’s Apple Pudding Cake (from Our Favorite Recipes by the RKIDs, page 98) and said, “Tim got a taste of it before I could take the picture.” No report on what he had to say.
In addition to raking leaves and putting up holiday decorations, Jim Cu says, “I’ve been going through bins of stuff from my Mom and Dad. Photos by the thousands. This is one of my favorites of my Dad, Pat Cunningham, right before leaving Ireland.”
He also spends time on a WhatsApp family page with many relatives in Ireland. He recently received this lovely news from his Cousin Pat, the man who taught set dancing in Dublin for years. Pat said, “I rarely say anything in this (WhatsApp) group, but I have a bit of positive news, in this era of Covid gloom, that I want to share: Ciara and Caoimhin became first-time parents yesterday and we increased our grandchildren count by 50% for 4 to 6. Ciara and twin boys, Art and Oscar, (both weighing nearly 6 lbs each) are all well. Ciara will be a lot lighter leaving the Coombe than she was going in!” And another family note: Caoimhin (Kevin), the father mentioned above, is a world class fiddler in a number of Irish trad groups including the Gloaming.
Jim also reports that his son, Chris, has been enjoying Seneca Creek State Park during the pandemic. Chris’s sons enjoy playing with their puppy and exploring the mushrooms and other fungi in the park.