Friday, March 29, 2013

Way of the Cross--Lourdes Shrine in Euclid

The Sepulchre Scene
Linda by the Crucifixion Scene
One of the Stations of the Cross, on the Hillside overlooking Euclid Ave.
Today is Good Friday and so we made a little pilgrimage to a holy place in Euclid, Ohio--the Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes. The Shrine is located off Chardon Road (US Rt.6), on a hill above Euclid Avenue (US 20).

I started going there with my Mom and Dad, my sister Mary Ellen and brothers Denny, Kevin, and Jimmy, back in the late 1950s and early '60s. In the summer I attend the outside mass by the Grotto every Sunday. If a place can be holy, this is the place. Here are some photos from today's visit:

The Grotto

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Beautiful Morning in Glacier National Park

Here's the webcam picture of Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park, from Apgar Village--one of the world's most beautiful places:

Carolan will cross country ski not far from here today--at Marias Pass.

Friday, March 22, 2013

What Chardon Looks Like on March 22, 2013

This is what the early-spring lake-effect snow has brought to Chardon and Hambden Township:
Looking out the front door. Hambden Township, Ohio. 22 March 2013.

Penniman Drive backyard, Hambden Township, Ohio, 22 March 2013

Snow on the deck, Hambden Township, Ohio, 22 March 2013

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Broken Hearts in Chardon

Yesterday was a sad day in Chardon, in Geauga County, in Northeast Ohio. Thomas ("TJ") Lane was sentenced for his murder of three innocent Chardon High School students, the crippling of another one, and the wounding of two others.

At the sentencing Lane proceeded to unbutton his dress shirt, revealing an undershirt with the word "Killer" scrawled on it. And then he uttered a disgusting obscenity to the families of the dead and wounded, while giving them the finger.

It appeared that those in the courtroom were too stunned to believe their ears and eyes. And it all seemed to happen too quickly to usher Lane out of the courtroom and back to the jail.

The effect was absolutely stunning. It was a slap in the face to those already deeply mourning. Some family members of the victims made statements after TJ Lane's display, and he sat there smirking at them, almost mocking them. I don't know how Dina Parmetor (mother of the murdered Danny Parmetor) held up.

We want Mr. and Mrs. Parmetor, and the parents, relatives, and friends of all the victims to know: we honor you, we honor your dead and wounded children. We will always mourn the loss. We will help you restore your lives.

Wonderful Poem by David Ignatow


Mother of my birth, for how long were we together
in your love and my adoration of your self?
For the shadow of a moment as I breathed your pain
and you breathed my suffering, as we knew
of shadows in lit rooms that would swallow the light.

Your face beneath the oxygen tent was alive
but your eyes were closed.  Your breathing was hoarse
but your sleep was with death.  I was alone with you
as it was when I was young but only alone now
and now with you.  I was to be alone forever
as I was learning, watching you become alone.

Earth is your mother as you were mine, my earth,
my sustenance, my comfort and my strength
and now without you I turn to your mother
and seek from her that I may meet you again
in rock and stone: whisper to the stone,
I love you; whisper to the rock, I found you;
whisper to earth, Mother, I have found my mother
and I am safe and always have been.

~ David Ignatow ~

(New and Collected Poems 1970-1985)

For H.T. on the passing of her mother, Myrtle Johnson Thomas

Sunday, March 17, 2013

St. Patrick's Day--A Great Day in Cleveland, Ohio

This morning Linda and I, along with Julia, Ed, and Colin, attended the St. Patrick's Day mass at St. William's in Euclid (officially now Sts. Robert and William). It was a wonderful mass, a thousand people in attendance, featuring the Irish American Club Fife and Drum Corps along with the Club's women marchers and two bagpipers. Mary Ann Ratchko-Gamez played her extraordinary Irish whistle and flute, and Jack McGarry sang "Our Lady of Knock." I saw many  old friends there and was so happy to be there with part of my family.

We didn't go to the parade this year, but I'm sure it was spectacular as usual. One highlight of every parade is the St. Edwards' High School Trashtalkers, a percussion band unlike any other. I have a short youtube video of it from last year's parade (when it was 79 degrees, versus 29 with 4 inches of snow this year!):

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Friends Since 1967

Bob Coughlin, Tim Forward, and Terry Forward (and Emmy-the-Dog). March 14, 2013. Rochester, New York. I met Tim in 1966 or '67. Studied with him in Salzburg and Innsbruck, Austria. Then back at the University of Notre Dame, 1968-70. Tim met Terry around 1972 or '73 in Berchtesgaden, Germany, when Tim was in the army. Tim was a "typist." The first thing he ever said to Terry, "Where's the 'e' on this thing?" Of course you wouldn't forget a crazy line like that!

Tim and I (along with Brian Wilson and Benny Thomas) spent about 10 days in late December 1967 and early January 1968 in Obergurgl, Austria, taking a ski course at an Austrian youth instructional facility. The cost for instruction, room, and board was about 20 bucks, if I remember correctly. I recall that the instructors never allowed us to use ski lifts. We sidestepped and herringboned our way up the hills. By the end of the session, we were good skiers, in fine physical shape. While in Obergurgl, we met a couple of nice Austrian girls, Caecilia Werth (now Cilli Kirchmair), and Liselotte Schartner.

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Tasks for the Next Pope (and it won't be me!)

In theory, I could be elected as the next pope (you don't believe it? I am a male Catholic--that's the basic requirement). I want to make it clear right now: no matter how much the cardinals beg or plead, I'm not going to accept the role.

An old friend from Berea College in Central Kentucky has an extraordinary blog. It's called Mike Rivage-Seul's Blog: " . . .about things that matter" ( Mike is a theologian and a former priest. He and his wife Peggy Rivage-Seul are prophetic presences for the Church and for the World.

Today's blog entry lays out some tasks for the new pope, whoever he shall be (and as I said above, it's not going to be me). Here is what Mike writes:

So the cardinals of the church are meeting to elect the next pope. Who cares? The media obviously do. The Catholic Church is getting a lot of air time and ink. But some of us might be caught yawning.
The yawn issues from the fact that the last two disastrous papacies (John Paul II and Benedict XVI) have so tightly packed the College of Cardinals with reactionary clones of themselves that any hope of rescuing the Romans from their deepest crisis since the Reformation seems remote at the very best.
But if there is hope of such rescue it resides in electing a pontiff who will directly address five issues: (1) summoning an ecumenical council, (2) opening priestly ordination to women, (3) abolition of mandatory celibacy for priests, (4) retraction of the prohibition of artificial contraception, and (5) practical adoption of liberation theology and its preferential option for the poor.
Mike expands on all these issues and makes compelling arguments for them. Check out his blog.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

"So early early in the spring . . ."

Snowdrops--Penitentiary Glenn Metropark, Kirtland, Ohio
Today I thought of the song Judy Collins sang so many years ago when I saw the first crocus in bloom in my Chardon, Ohio yard. Below--not Judy Collins, but pretty damn good!

First crocus of 2013--in my yard in Chardon, Ohio

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Chainsaws, Ax, and MCC Crew on US-Canadian Border

Tell me this isn't scary!

Lauren, Cliff, Sonny, and Carolan were cutting up fallen timber at the Glacier Institute, up the North Fork of the Flathead River--adjacent to Glacier National Park, not far from the Montana-Canadian border.

"Three Little Pigs" in Irish-Gaelic


“Na Trí Mhuicín” [a portion of the story]                “The Three Little Pigs”—In Irish Gaelic

1. Bhí  na trí mhuicín ina suí go moch ar maidin.
Chuaigh siad amach ag obair.

[The three little pigs were sitting early in the morning. Then they went out to work.]

2. Rinne Dónall Muicín teach beag tuí.
Rinne Colm Muicín teach beag adhmaid.
Rinne Brian Muicín teach beag bríce.

[Little Pig Donall made his little house out of straw. Little Pig Colm made his little house out of wood. Little Pig Brian made his little house out of brick.]

3. Tháinig an mac tire gránna go dtí an teach beag tuí.
“Lig isteach mé. Lig isteach mé, a chara mo chroí,” arsa an mac tire.

[The ugly wolf came to the little house of straw. “Let me in. Let me in, my dearest,” said the wolf.]

4. “Ní tusa mo charasa,” arsa Dónall Muicín leis an mac tire gránna. “Ní ligfidh mé isteach thú. Imigh leat abhaile.”

[You’re not my friend,” said Little Pig Donall to the ugly wolf. I will not let you in. Go home.”]

5. “Huth! Huth! Hó!” arsa un mac tire gránna.
“Huh! Huth! Hé! Séidfidh mé agus leagfaidh mé do theach beag tuí.”
Ansin shéid sé agus shéid sé agus leag sé an teach beag tuí.

[Huth! Huth! Ho! Said the ugly wolf. Huth! Huth! Hey! I will blow and I will knock down your little house of straw.” Then he blew and he blew and he knocked down the little house of straw.]

Approximate pronunciation of the story above (capitalized syllables receive greater stress):

1. VEE nuh TREE WUCK-EEN in-uh SEE guh MUKH er MAH-jin.
KHOO-ee SHE-ud ah-MAKH egg UH-ber


3. HAW-nig un MAHK TEER-uh GRAW-nuh guh JEE un CHYAKH BEE-ug TEE.

4. NEE TOO-suh muh KHAR-uh-suh, AR-suh DOH-nal MUH-KEEN lesh un MAHK TEER-uh GRAW-nuh.

5. HUH HUH HO, AR-suh un MAHK TEER-uh GRAW-nuh.

It’s hard to write a phonetic transcription without the International Phonetic Alphabet. But I gave it a try using fairly standard English spellings. When I used “h” after a vowel, as in “MAHK,” I’m indicating a lengthening of that vowel. “KH” is being used to show the “ch” sound at the end of a word like “loch.”

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Bishop Lennon's Excommunication of Fr. Bob Marrone Is Baloney!

Cleveland's bishop, Richard Lennon, announced yesterday the excommunication of one of the diocese's great priests, Fr. Bob Marrone. Fr. Marrone is the leader of the Community of St. Peter. Not long ago he was pastor of  St. Peter's Church, one of Cleveland's oldest and most historic parishes (my great grandparents, Cornelius Coughlin and Lizzie Ierg were married there in the 1880s!). Then a couple years ago Bishop Lennon closed this vibrant community down (this closing and about 11 other closings were later overturned by the Vatican--a slap in the face of Bishop Lennon). When the church was closed, Fr. Marrone and about 300 parishioners moved to another location, 7100 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44104, where they've re-established their vibrant community. To see what the Community of St. Peter is doing, check out their website:

Bishop Lennon has damaged the Diocese of Cleveland severely since his tenure began. He continues to do that.

My prayers are with Fr. Bob Marrone and his community members. My advice: just keep following where the Holy Spirit leads you!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Two Wonderful Irish Tunes (with Lyrics)

A couple weeks ago we heard Shanua perform at the Hiram (Ohio) Christian Church--which is across the street from historic Hiram College. Shanua has to be one of the strangest groups in history--a fusion of Irish and Estonain. Dermot Somerville is the Irishmnan, from Dublin but now living in Greater Cleveland. His wife Ulle is Estonian. Together with wonderful musicians (including Paul Dreisbach on oboe), a violinist, a double bass player, and a chorus, Shanua creates astonishingly beautiful music.

I finally figured out the meaning of the name "Shanua." It comes from two Irish words: "sean" means old; "nua" means new. Shanua fuses the old and the new.

At the Hiram concert (and on Shanua's new album, "Enchantment") there are a couple of wonderful songs sung in Irish-Gaelic. The words of "Eamon an Chnoic" ("Ned of the Hill") are below, with an English translation following. After that I've copied and pasted the beautiful anthem, "Trasna na dTonnta" (Across the Waves"):

éamon an chnoic
[Traidisiúnta Éireannach]
Cé hé sin amuigh, a bhfuil faobhar ar a guth,
Ag réabadh mo dhorais dúnta?
Mise Ĕamon a' Chnoic, atá báite fuair fliuch,
Ó shíorshúil sléibhte is gleannta.
A lao ghil s'a chuid, cad a dhéanainnse dhuit,
Mura gcuirfhinn ort binn de mo ghúna?
Is go bhfuil púdar go tiubh á shiorshéadadh leat,
Is go mbéimish ar aon múchta.

Is fada mise 'muigh faoi shneachta's faoi shioc,
‘s gan dánacht agam ar aon neach,
Mo sheisreach gan scor, is mo bhranar gan cur,
Agus gan iad agam ar aon chor.
Níl cairid agam, is danaid liom san,
A ghlachfadh mé moch ná déanach,
Is go gcaithfidh mé gabháil thar farraige s
ned of the hill
[Traditional Irish]
O who is outside with an edge on his voice
Beating my bolted door?
It is Ned of the Hill, soaked and cold
From long trudging the mountains and glens.
My darling and my dear, what could I do
But cover you with my gown?
And with powder so thick firing upon you,
We should both be killed.

I am a long time outside in snow & sleet
Daringly facing all challenges.
My plow without cut & my field without seed
And neither my own anyway.
I have no friend with whom I could stay
Or who'd take me in early or late,
So I must traverse the ocean east
Where alas are none of my family.

Trasna na dtonnta
[Traidisiúnta Éireannach]Trasna na dtonnta, dul siar, dul siar,
Slán leis an uaigneas ‘is slán leis an gcian;
Geal é mo chroí, agus geal í an ghrian,
Geal bheith ag filleadh go hÉirinn!

Chonaic mo dhóthain de Thíortha i gcéin,
Ór agus airgead, saibhreas an tsaoil,
Éiríonn an croí ‘nam le breacadh gach lae
‘S mé druidim le dúthaigh mo mhuintir!

Ar mo thriall siar ó éirigh mo chroí
An aimsir go hálainn is tonnta deas réidh
Stiúradh go díreach go dúthaigh mo chliabh

over the waves
[Traditional Irish]
Over the waves, going west, going west!
Farewell to loneliness and to remoteness.
Bright is my heart and bright is the sun,
Bright to be returning to Ireland!

I saw my fill of countries abroad,
Gold and silver, the wealth of the world,
My heart rises in me at the break of each day,
As I draw closer to the land of my people!

Westward bound - oh my heart rose,
Weather so beautiful, waves so calm.
Steer directly to land of my bosom
And I'll be in Ireland tomorrow!

Friday, March 1, 2013

O'Carolan's Beautiful Tunes

A couple weeks ago I attended the Hiram Irish Music Session organized by Professor Tina Dreisbach and her husband Paul. At this particular session Ellen Eckhouse played her harp. Among the songs she played was the O'Carolan tune "Eleanor Plunkett." I don't have a video of Ellen playing, but I found a nice video on Youtube of a fellow playing the tune, alterntating these instruments: Low D whistle; regular D penny whistle; and guitar. Here it is:

Turlough O'Carolan lived from 1670 to 1738 in Ireland. He was born in County Leitrim and grew up there and in County Roscommon. O'Carolan was struck with smallpox at age 18, which left him blind. To make a living, a patron apprenticed him to a harper. Three years later, with a horse and a guide, O'Carolan began traveling Ireland and playing and composing for his living. Often he would compose "planxties" to honor a patron--lots of these are extant and played throughout the world today. His tunes were accompanied by Irish lyrics. But what has survived to the present are the tunes; I've never even heard his lyrics sung.

It is said that his first tune was "Si Bheag, Si Mhor," which translates something like "Little Fairy Mound [or Hill], Big Fairy Mound." It is a magnificent tune, and one of my favorite. I first heard it around 1975 while at an old-timey fiddler festival near Union Grove, North Carolina--I was there with Timmy Jenkins (who, as far as I know, lives in Gays Mills, Wisconsin now). I can play this tune on piano, guitar, and whistle.

Other favorite O'Carolan tunes include:

Loftus Jones
O'Carolan's Draught
O'Carolan's Farewell to Music
Planxty Irwin
Fanny Power

I've heard these tunes on many recordings, including the works of Malcolm Dalglish and Grey Larsen, Joanie Madden and Cherish the Ladies, Patrick Ball, and many others. Many O'Carolan tunes are played at the Hiram session.