Life gives you lemonade and books.

Published in Personal History

During the midterm I talked to a very interesting man, he was a former teacher in the SligoGrammar School and his name is Damhlaic MagShamhrain. He was a man born and raised in Ireland. As a child, he lived in the busy city of Dublin in the 1950s and attended a school there. When I asked him how he spent his holidays during his childhood, he told me of his grandfather and the days on end he spent at their home in Birr.

During the summer holidays, Easter break, mid term break and any kind of holiday that occurred, Mr.MagShamhrain would go to his grandfather’s house in the Midlands of Ireland. Birr was a small, secluded town nestled in the rural countryside, a quiet, peaceful place to just relax.

His grandfather was a man of the weekend, a simple man who knew how to enjoy life! His weekend started on a Thursday and ended the following Wednesday, Mr. MagShamhrain said humourously. He knew now to enjoy the joys of life and did so with pleasure. He didn’t even go to church on Sundays, claiming that it was a low form of entertainment, and didn’t believe in working, thinking that it was a low form of activity! His grandfather would only go to town to buy groceries and books once a week and spent most of time reading then. His daily routine was simple and calm, every morning he turned on the kettle and the fire for his cup of tea.
His grandfather was one of the many soldiers who fought in W.W.I and from what Mr.MagShamhrain had said; his grandfather never spoke a word of it. Not necessarily because of the shock and trauma of the war, but because of the simple belief that you don’t bring up things like that, why talk to such matters if there is no need?

He strongly believed that life was for reading and drinking!  Mr. MagShamhrain talked fondly of his grandfather and the months and weeks they spent together. Whenever he went to his grandfather’s house, his grandfather would hand him a good book and a bottle of lemonade in the lazy summer sun or around the glowing fire, and they would read. They spent the hours on end, just reading, Mr.MagShamhrain with his bottle of cold lemonade and his grandfather with a glass of beer. This warm memory stays vivid in his mind and even I will not forget this story or this great man. Due to such childhood memories, Mr.MagShamhrain is an avid reader; he reads books and books every day, rereading the same books just for the sheer pleasure and knowledge. Such an experience has fueled his love for reading and his thirst of knowledge years and years after these memories!

I found this extremely admirable and inspiring; he lived a life like the poets of ancient Rome, like Virgil and Horace, enjoying life in its simplest form, indulging in simple pleasures, living a simple care-free life! He was a man to be remembered by all he met and knew!

By Min-Seo Jung
November 2011



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