Sunday, August 26, 2007

When Irish Eyes Are Smiling

Today I attended an Irish funeral for one of my mother's best friends, Mrs S. The service was beautiful and it was wonderful to see so many people attend. The "weird" thing was seeing all of the faces from years past.

When I was very small, in the 1960's, we lived in a modest neighborhood where everyone knew each other. All of the kids played together, and all of the parents had barbecues and social functions together. Most of the moms stayed home to raise the kids while most of the dad's worked. There was one family who we were very close with, not just in living distance, but relationship wise as well. My siblings and I were about the same ages as their kids. Our parents were best friends, especially our mothers. Mrs S and my mother were practically inseparable. They did sewing projects together, baking, cooking, and most of all... BARGAIN HUNTING. If there was a sale to be shopped at, they were there. Coupons? You bet. At that time, my mother did not drive, so it was easy for her to just walk a couple of blocks to Mrs S' house for a cup of coffee and gossip.

When I was about 9 years old, we out-grew that small house and moved to a new development, to a larger house. It wasn't that far from the old neighborhood, and Mrs. S could drive over to visit my mom, but she really missed being close by. With in a couple of years, the S family moved within 2 blocks of us, on the same street. It was great having them close by again. It was as if nothing had ever changed.

When my mom became sick and was diagnosed with cancer, it was a shock, and especially for Mrs. S. She did keep things "real" for my mom, though, telling her about shopping and bringing her a few things (bought on sale.) After my mother died, we didn't hear too much from Mrs S and the S family, but we would see them every now and then at other social functions, like weddings, and Mrs. S would always say how much she missed my mother.

Today, after the funeral service, we gathered at their house, still two blocks away from where my dad still lives. Many of the old faces were there ~ such as the kids I grew up with who are now grown up and have kids and grand-kids, and some of the neighbors from the old neighborhood who remembered my mom and Mrs. S and their parties. Several people remembered how they would bargain shop, and said if there's a sale in heaven, you know they're both on it. Many faces looked familiar and it took a while to remember the names. Many people did not recognize me, but once they found out it was me, then they went on with stories about my mom and Mrs S. One lady even took a picture of me and my father to send to one of the other neighbors who couldn't attend the reception.

Mrs. S had several recipes that she was known for. One of her grandchildren printed up 3 different recipe cards with Mrs. S' photo on it and the recipe to give out to all of the guests. One of the recipes I do remember fondly. It was her raisin bars. I remember her baking those when I was very small, about 4 or 5 years old. Talk about comfort food. There was nothing like the sweet aroma of her raisin bars baking. Seeing that recipe card was yet another walk down memory lane.

It was sad knowing that Mrs. S had died from emphysema, from years of cigarette smoking, but the reception was full of happy memories of what a fun lady she really was.

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Juls said...

It is always nice to hear the happy memories at such hard times.

Anne said...

Such a touching post, Irene. We moved too much to ever have lasting friendships like that of Mrs. S and your mom. It's nice that everyone was there, too, for a neighborhood reunion. And being from Boston, I should know this song but don't. Maybe after a few Guinneses, it'll come back to me.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear that you lost someone so dear. But what great memories.

Pat said...

I think that's a great ideal to have the recipe card with her picture. I'm glad you got to see some faces from your past.

When Irish eyes are smilin', the whole world smiles with you (I think that's how it goes, but I don't know who sings it). But, my guess would be Danny Kaye. I bet my dad would know.

NotSoccer Mom said...

what a nice tribute. it made me feel like i knew her too.

Irene said...

The family was full of emotion that day, happy and sad. I was glad I was able to pay tribute to such a dear family friend.

My mom had several "best" friends, but Mrs. S and my mom were glued together, especially when it came to bargain hunting. LOL... Take a guess on the song and you'll probably be right!

She was a wonderful lady.

I also thought the recipe card was a fabulous idea. It was a wonderful trip down memory lane and glad to see so many familiar faces. Danny Kaye sounds good to me! Winner!

Thanks. She will be missed.