Sad Summer

August 31, 2007 | Leave a Comment

Click here for pictures of Lee…
We’re back in the barn after spending what seems like most of the summer in Boston. Jenn and the kids were there for the whole time, and I would come up at weekends to visit them.

The main reason for the stay in Boston was that Jenn’s dad Lee was being treated in Dana Farber for his cancer which started advancing aggressively over the summer. Alas it was a battle that he lost; he succumbed on August 17th. The funeral service was held at Mount Auburn, a beautiful cemetery in Boston.

It’s hard to believe that he is no longer with us – he was, as those of you who knew him will agree, a big bear of a man, irrepressibly jolly and good-natured, who loved his family. His idea of fun was to take the kids out on rambles in the park, but he was also highly successful and innovative in his chosen career of banking.

While he was taken from us at a tragically young age – 61 – we have plenty of memories. The kids in particular are blessed to have had some time, however short, to come to know him. His memory will serve as a good role model for them as they grow up.

This weekend also saw another family funeral, that of our Uncle Owen, in County Derry, Ireland. It truly was the end of an era. With his passing we lost a link to our past, a tumultuous period in Irish history. Owen had lived through the War of Independence, and could relate stories of those times and some of the people who shaped history. Stories of his own life were legion, often very funny, painting a portrait of a man who had a quick wit and a wonderful turn of phrase, who inherited the McWilliams temper but who doted on the younger members of the family, who was a cattleman nonpareil and an accomplished fisherman.

These two men were very different in their personalities and their lives, and yet both of whom will be sorely missed.

The Measure Of A Man
Not How did he die?
but How did he live?
Not What did he gain?
but What did he give?
These are the units that measure the worth
Of a man, as a man, no matter his birth.

Not What was his church?
Nor What was his creed?
But his work and his care
For those people in need.

His strength for his children,
His love for his wife.
These are the units
That measure a life.

Not what the sketch
In the newspapers say,
But how many will miss him
Now he’s passed away.




August 9, 2007 | Leave a Comment

Click here for more pictures…

The past month has seen us running around a lot. We’ve spent a lot of time in Boston, where the kids have had a fantastic time visiting the Aquarium, the Children’s Museum, restaurants like The Barking Crab where they got to smash lobsters with rocks, and generally having a blast.

They’ve been especially excited because Aisling and Siobhan have come to visit from Hong Kong, During the week the Sino-Hibernian cousins are busy at swim camp, but at weekends they’re free to meet up. This weekend we may go and visit Jennifer’s ancestors at the Salem Witch Museum…

Speaking of cousins, New York was recently treated to a visit by Ciaran; Seamus and I met up with him one night for a tour of some of the city’s hostelries. This trip was tamer than some, but we still managed to have a good time !