Sunday, March 18, 2007

The Green o' the Irish

We had the fun of enjoying Brad and Georgie's Irish hospitality this week as we spent a few days with them in Greystones, which is on the Irish Sea just south of Dublin.

Brad teaches at the Christ for Ireland Training Centre. He invited me to come teach a class on Old Testament Narrative as part of a course he is leading. When he listed some possible dates for our trip, it was obvious that we should spend St. Patrick's Day in Ireland. He kindly invited Crystal and Ellie to come along and so we decided to make a holiday of it.

We hadn't had a chance to meet Brad and Georgie's baby, Molly, yet, so Crystal decided to put her new knitting skills to work by producing two green "gnomish" hats (with bells!) for the occasion.

We arrived after dark and didn't look around too much before going to bed. When Ellie was the first to wake up (what else is new....) she wandered over to the window and excitedly said, "Water, water, water!" "Sure, Ellie, go back to sleep...." But when we finally looked out the window ourselves, we saw an amazing green sea filling up the entire view — a stunning view from our third story vantage point.

It was great fun leading Brad's class. We had four bright and engaged students so there was plenty of interaction over the three hour (!) session. We looked at the story of David and Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11 — a classic example of Hebrew narrative artistry) and Moses' retelling of the Golden Calf story in Deuteronomy 9-10.

On St. Patrick's Day itself, we headed over to Daniel's house (he's the principal of Brad's school) and had the unique experience of breakfast, Irish style. We're told that it's known as an "Ulster Fry" and fried it was -- fried eggs, fried bacon, fried sausages, fried tomatoes, fried bread, another kind of fried bread, fried corned beef thingies, and lots and lots and lots of it. It was boisterous. It was filling. It was crowded with both adults and children. It was unforgettable.

After breakfast was the Greystones St. Patrick's Day parade. It's a small town, so much of the parade was local businesses driving their trucks along with green, white, and orange decorations. The local coast guard was represented, along with civil defense, police, ambulance and fire trucks (Ellie thought the sirens were too loud!). There were lots of dancers, karate teams, boy scout troops, bands, and anything else you could name. And yes, they had green ice cream — much to the delight of both Barrett girls. My personal favorite was the pipe and drum band.

Thanks for a fantastic weekend, Brad, Georgie, and Molly. Our guest room is usually available if you want to relax in calm and reserved England for a few days.

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