Myth or legend has it that about fifteen hundred years ago St. Patrick used the shamrock to illustrate and explain the Blessed Trinity to the pagan Irish. The Irish were an unruly lot and the last of the Caucasian race to come into civilization. Their becoming civilized occurred when the Roman legions conquered them after several ill- fated attempts. But the shamrock was a breakthrough and the Irish have revered it through the centuries.
Now ‘hisself,’ being of some Irish blood, fancies the shamrock as well. I find the plant lovely and gentle. Maybe one day, when I am in the ground, someone will come and put a shamrock on my final retirement property and murmur an ‘Ave’ there for me.
When I got my first computer in 1999 I wanted the email address “IrelandForever”. It was unavailable on any server. So I settled on a number of ’shamrock’ email addresses. Shortly thereafter I discovered penpals and emailing. In time I started sharing my stories with these people. By far, most responses were quite favorable. In time I felt as though I was setting flowers along my walk for passersby to admire. I imagined my stories as those flowers or shamrocks. And so it was that I dubbed my stories “Shamrocks”. Come see what I have done.
Have I tended my Shamrocks with loving care?
About the Book
This book is constructed in five sections containing more than 300 pages and 80 stories:
- My family. The life and death of my teenage son Kerry.
- My alcoholism and subsequent recovery.
- Life and Living and Death and Dying.
- The last two sections highlight some thirty other interesting individuals and their fates.
- This book is a result of the promise I made to Kerry before he died, that people would know he was here and how he conducted himself.
I encourage the reader to follow a breadcrumb trail as the eighty some stories intertwine. For those with questions a contact email address is provided. I would enjoy hearing from you.
I try to tell my stories as if you and I are sitting on a park bench in a pastoral setting with some ducks across the way swimming on a pond. I’m on your right with my legs crossed - ankle upon knee. My left arm is extended along the back of the park bench. As the subjects of conversation change, I touch you on the shoulder and say, “Let me tell you about…”
As a kid I remember reading the Reader’s Digest. Each month it had a piece called My Most Unforgettable Character. Years later I read a couple of books by Alexander King. He wrote May This House Be Safe From Tigers. His book was about the ’unforgettable characters’ he came across when he lived in Manhattan. He used to appear regularly on The Tonight Show With Jack Parr. Jack Douglas was also a regular with Jack Parr. Douglas was an odd character as were the people he wrote about. He wrote several books but his memoir The Neighbors are Scaring My Wolf was my favorite. And still a few years later I was taken by Doc Greene, a sports writer for The Detroit News. He wrote a book called The Memory Collector and like King and Douglas, Greene regaled the reader with the characters who once inhabited his life. These instances influenced me in relating my accounts of the various people and the resultant interactions that tended to sway my life.
As a trucker I spent long nights on the road going back and forth from Detroit to Chicago. I was never much for listening to the radio or chatting with other truckers via the CB radio. I contented myself with reverie, hashing over events and people of my life. My former wife used to accuse me of dwelling too much on the past. Probably so. But during those long nights I felt people urging me, tugging at me to write their story, the people you are about to meet.
The following are just a few of the stories you will enjoy.
Allan and the Troll: When a little boy becomes a man, sometimes he remembers the stories his father told him.
The Game Ball: There was no doubt who would win this high school football game. But why did the losing team get the game ball?
Sister Superman, the Frog-Breathing Nun: Sometimes prayers are answered in a most implausible way. Wait ‘til you get a load of what happens here.
“Hockey Night in Canada”: Saturday night is special in the winter in Canada. This particular story details why this one Saturday night in Montreal was even more special.
Kerry’s Rendezvous With Death: From his earliest childhood he knew he was going to die young. Read this inspiring story on how this young man conducted himself and innocently covered himself with glory.
“White Willie”and the Standard Egg Co. See how a white guy ingratiates himself in an all black environment.
The Pinochle Strategy: An analogy of why a marriage went bad.
“Dirge, Don’t Get Me Down”: Get a smile and chuckle reading how a little boy helped the funeral mourners.
The Wolverine Potato Chip Caper: Hi-jinx by friends who became “dumb criminals”.
The Vogue Theater Caper: More hi-jinx by more ‘dumb criminals‘- but this time they’re drunk.
The MDA Summer Camp Revolt and the ‘76 Montreal Olympics: When Canada refused admittance to the Taiwan athletes these quadriplegic kids stood up and were counted.
The Birth of an Athlete: Watching a gifted grandson come of age.
A Sibling Reverie: These three kids didn’t live together until they were teenagers. Enjoy their escapades as they learn about each other.
Rancor and Rapprochement: A forty-four year marriage goes down the drain and unkind words are spoken. But their love never died. He would swim through sharks for her and she would walk through fire for him. So what happened?
“It’s ‘prostate’ not ‘prostrate’!”: Learn more than you’ll ever want to know about prostate cancer and having fun with lots and lots of radiation.
Up Everest With Jennings: An unlikely narrator explains to the reader the complete life of a quadriplegic.
The Murder of Det. Russell Blanchard: A fifteen year old boy witnesses the murder of a Detroit police officer and become a star witness at the murder trial.
“Dad, I heard you smiling”: A son observes something odd about his father.
“….his vorpal sword in hand”: Late one night in the inner-city a cop on a call box is saying, “You won’t believe what’s coming down the street.”
Ernie’s Claim to Fame: To earn extra money for his little family an apprentice plumber became a punching bag for up and coming boxers. Find out how he became a footnote in boxing history.
“V.O.” Bob - What are the odds?: He was a gambler. If it wasn’t for bad luck he wouldn’t have had any luck at all.
Anderson’s Garden of Whores: In any large city there are establishments that cater to the dregs of society. Take a peek in this saloon and meet a few of the outcasts of society.
Antabuse and the Compulsion to Drink: If you have a drinking problem or you know someone who does, read this gritty story that details the penalties of alcoholism.
Sally, Chet and Free Enterprise: Learn how a young couple bootstrap a dream and become millionaires without benefit of college. The story of Chet’s Cleaning and Decorating.
And dozens of other thought provoking stories all told in the interesting vernacular of a husband, father and recovering alcoholic with a Gaelic heritage. This is not a family memoir but rather excerpts from several dozen lives - all strewn like breadcrumbs along a shamrock path.