‘Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers’,
Gerard Manly Hopkins
Others live life!
It is almost a century – ninety-eight years and six months to be precise – since the birth of my dear, dear friend, pictured here. At the drop of a hat she’ll launch into stories and homely anecdotes of her grandmother, who she remembers as I might mine from fifty years ago in Sheetrim, Cullyhanna. The difference is that Eliza, Sarah’s granny was born on the first of February 1840. Her father (Eliza’s) was my great-great-great grandfather. Sarah Hagan and I are of the same seed; it’s just that there are two extra intervening generations! I’m so proud to be related to this beautiful lady.
‘What’s your secret?’ I asked Sarah today.
‘All you need in life’, she confided, ‘is the grace of God and a bit of common sense’.
A friend had arrived at this ceili home in Ardboe, bearing a relic of Saint Padre Pio – one of his famous mittens. He bore the stigmata and his bandage was covered by these mittens. It is someone in Derry that has its charge. Kay McCusker is entrusted to bring it to the needy or those who ask. We were fortunate to be there at the same time and invited to utter the accompanying aspiration while touching the relic and making a request of the Almighty. As well as health and happiness for my immediate family I requested a further chance to visit a healthy Sarah on her centenary.
Sarah is the head of a household of the most wonderful people I have ever known. And they are my distant relatives. This is what I celebrate as we enter 2005!
Our readership is asked to excuse us this rare lapse into the personal arena. But it’s difficult not to celebrate this amazing lady!!