I’m not Irish. I have red hair and a rather fiery temper, can drink any man under the table and curse like a sailor. But alas, I am not Irish. I should have been. I love Irish people; having a relationship or two in the past with some of the most delightful Irish men I’ve ever had the pleasure of drinking whiskey with. I promised myself as a small girl that I would marry an Irish man. I think it’s safe to say I’m a devout fan of the Irish way. Any place that endorses (proper) football, hearty meals, strong whiskey, C. S. Lewis, Colin Farrell and Luna Lovegood is 100% passable in my book. More so than any of the obvious draws to Irish culture (not to mention the most beautiful green rolling hills on the planet) is the people. Not too long ago in a not so faraway place I met one of the most beautiful humans, inside and out, that I’ve known in a very long time. Conor Morgan, this post is for you.
In an unsuspecting corner of an unsuspecting bar a stone’s throw away from my former home in Las Vegas is where I first met Conor Morgan; the 6-foot-5-inch-tall darling prison guard from Dundalk, Ireland with a heart of pure gold. Both of us were rather deep into a few beers after what was a long and trying day at work for both of us. Conor decided that he would buy a beer for the tired-looking red head at the end of the bar and both of us would be forever changed. To glaze over a rather long tale of friendship I will summarize with his character, which is really the central theme of this tale.
Las Vegas, as most people do not realize, has become rather a destination for Irish ex-patriots. With more than one famous Irish pub in town there happens to be along with them a small but notable community of Irish transplants. Conor bestowed upon me the honor of a proper introduction (as proper as one from Nevada could be) into the world that is Irish Vegas. I was taken to dark corners of town for the best bangers and mash on this side of the pond, to bars manned entirely by his Irish brothers for a “properly poured” 20oz pint of that pitch black soul-medicine we called Guinness, I was introduced to The Pogues and to Magner’s (a traditionally un-girly styling of hard cider). Conor, being from Dundalk, grew up a voracious fan of Liverpool Football Club. The one most valuable item I carry to this day of our friendship is his beloved green and white striped Liverpool kit (“jersey” for the American layman) bestowed upon me after a long night of drinking and heartfelt conversations. I’m quite sure he regrets giving me this piece of history but it’s his loss, I’m definitely NOT giving back… Sorry, Conor. Among countless priceless experiences and endless days of one of my most valued friendships, I count my time with Conor as an irreplaceable point in my life.
Conor has since moved back to Ireland and I back to California and we don’t keep in near as good of touch as I wish we would. But I don’t need correspondence to remind me of my magically delicious (pun intended) time with this delightfully rosy-cheeked man from the land of Yeats. I am eternally grateful for his open arms and unconditionally hospitable existence. I love you forever, my Conor.
On that memorable note, I made my first attempt this week at a properly stewed corned beef and cabbage; brining for a day, slow-cooking for another day, and finally serving on my nautically relevant dinner plates.
Happy St. Paddy’s! Sláinte!