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Be Brave.

Nick loves music and he loves to sing.  He knows hundreds of songs with all of their verses.  We will sing together, sometimes for hours, but he usually won’t sing for others.

Years ago we were at a party honoring our friend Paddy Bogside Doherty in Derry City, Northern Ireland.  Paddy had been awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Ulster, because of his legendary civil rights work in Northern Ireland.  As is the tradition in Ireland, a sing song had started and Nick wanted to sing also.

Arden and I tried to quiet him, but Paddy said, “Let the man sing.”  Nick wanted to sing one of his favorite songs, ‘the Town I loved so Well.’ It had been written by Phil Coulter, a famous son of Derry City himself. The song tells the story of the difficult time during The Troubles and the immutable spirit of the local Irish. It is a long song with many verses.
Paddy pulled up a chair across the room from Nick, and all of a sudden the room was very quiet. Everyone was paying complete attention. I was worried that Nick would get nervous or shy.  Arden and I each knelt down beside him in case he needed any help. He didn’t. He sang the whole song, in full voice, with an amazing smile on his face looking straight at his friend Paddy the whole time.
Arden and I wouldn’t have been any help anyway. We were both sitting there with tears streaming down our faces. We couldn’t have sung a note. When Nick was finished, Paddy loudly declared, “this clearly disabled Yank just sang our song to us.” Another voice rang out saying, “I don’t think that I know all the words.”
During the sustained applause for Nick’s s rendition of their local anthem, Paddy stood up, with tears in his own eyes, walked across the room to embrace Nick.  I heard him whisper in Nick’s ear, ‘Thank you, son, thank you.”  Nick kept nodding at him, not speaking.
Over the years, Paddy would mention that night with great fondness whenever we visited him. He said that Nick had impressed many of his friends that were there that night.
Nick continues to teach us.  He clearly understood the importance of that song to Paddy and being brave, he overcame his own fear as he honored his friend that night.  I try to be brave, when faced with fearful situations.  “If Nick can do it,” I tell myself, “I can do it.”

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One Comment

  1. Thank you for this story I just came across your blog. I am Paddy and Eileen’s granddaughter. Paddy always had a powerful way of making a room turn silent and for everyone to listen What an amazing song to sing Nick

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Announcing that I have finished a book with the working title of “The Fairy Fort.” I am currently pitching it to publishers. Keep checking back to watch the progress of my newest novel.

Here is a quick glimpse of the story.

Sarah Doherty is an 18-year-old living in rural Ireland at the tail end of the Great War. Plagued by severe epilepsy, she is protected by her parents and lives a sheltered, secluded, lonely life. The Fae, local Irish fairies, interfere with her life. She falls forward a century in time through the local fairy fort of standing stones. She had a seizure in 1918 and woke up in 2020. The 21st century world includes life-saving prescriptions, physical comforts and the independence and freedom she seeks. The locals are welcoming and Andy Mclaughlin, a handsome young historian, is intriguing. She doesn’t want to return home.

Then a letter arrives from Boston divulging the story of Sarah and Andy’s lives that are deeply entwined in the previous century. They are not yet in love but as they seek to verify the letter through online resources, they feel a growing obligation to their unborn family and to each other. What would happen to their posterity living in Boston if they don’t return to 1918? Even if they do make it back, her parents can never know what happened to her or that would change everything.

This Young Adult time-travel romance explores the question: Do we have the freedom to make choices or is free will an elaborate illusion?

This is my third book. I love reading time travel romances. I am an advocate for epilepsy awareness because my 43-year-old son has intractable epilepsy. As a genealogist specializing in Irish research, I live part of the year in the village where the story is based. I wrote the book to help young adults understand that difficult situations can change your life. Sometimes miraculously.

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