developed a case of the Irish sniffles. This happens when the airplane air is cold, the weather is
misty, and one is jetlagged.
Annie sprung into action, getting Kleenex and putting wet cloths on the radiator to get the moisture in the room higher. We realized that we would have to hang back while everyone else went on to the Dingle peninsula.
I was sent into town to get some cold medicine, elderberry syrup, some Birocca, lozenges, and
echinacea tea. The walk into town was about a half an hour and the weather was sunny, with
faraway storms scraping across the mountains. Some Sika deer, a species introduced to
Ireland from Japan, grazed in a paddock alongside angus cattle. There was a pasture of Suffolk
and Cheviot sheep that I passed. The smell of them brought me back to Woodstock as a kid throwing bales of hay to our flock during the winter. They stared at me as I walked past and headed over a bridge with tannin-stained water flowing beneath it and into Killarney. Being Wednesday, the town was fairly busy, with the bustle of shoppes and locals walking briskly from one to the other, like so many bees to flowers. I walked into the first pharmacy I saw and asked about picking up children's cold medicine. I was directed to the back, where stood two very solemn women, almost like they were the guardians of the oracle. The business was conducted, and I was given two sacks with lozenges and cold medicine. "We don't have elderberry syrup or echinacea tea," she said solemnly, "you need to go to Horns."
"Horns?" The lady, sensing my confusion, slowed it down for the average American.
"Thank you very much," I said. With that, the lady nodded, a grey mist surrounded her and her partner, and they disappeared from view.
After finding Horans and getting the rest of the cold medicine, I stopped by the Underground
coffee shop and got a mocha for the walk back. Upon hearing an American accent, I took a
moment to ask a young woman where she wa from.
"Florida." Her father, seated next to her, asked where I was from and upon hearing Chicago asked if I was a White Sox or Cubs fan.
"I usually root for the Cubs," I said.
"Ugh," he said, "I am a White Sox fan."
We got into conversation and he mentioned that he was a bass player. I replied that I am a bass player as well.
"Well, I created the fretless bass," he said.
And so Jim Kelly and his daughter Bree talked with me about music. He showed me some
pictures of his very first fretless bass and some shots of his latest ones. They were over in
Ireland on a holiday and heading for Galway. I wished them well and grabbed my mocha and
walked back to the hotel.
While our tour was enjoying the sights of Dingle, we laid low. Having a sniffly 20 month old is no
fun, but Áine was very much the trooper. We put on the Irish language channel and watched
"Dora the Explorer," which was kind of fun in Gaelic.
We had lunch at the hotel and watched the sunlight head across the McGillicuddy Reeks. I was
perfectly content to stay put and be present with the beauty of the mountains around me. The
staff at the hotel were wonderful to Áine, handing her some crayons and coloring books. In spite
of having the sniffles, she ate quite well, a little meal prepared just for her of mash potatoes and
So passed our day. We returned to our room and I watched Áine sleep as Annie slipped away
to get a message at the spa. About an hour later Áine awoke to find Momma missing and all
hell broke loose. She was inconsolable that she got stuck with Poppa. She got off her bed and ran to the bathroom. "Momma!"
Finally after offering her treats, dolls, books, crayons, milk, I asked her, "Shall we find Momma?"
"Uhhuh," she said in a small voice and got her tiny sneakers for me to put on. I wiped her nose, which she wasn't too fond of, picked her up, and headed down with her to find Annie.
We walked into the main hall, grand with the mounted heads of red deer stags and paintings of
the views surrounding Killarney. No Momma. We headed out to greet the coaches pulling in. "Momma?"
Andy Arnold got off one coach and came by to say hello. Áine did her best Greta Garbo and started crying to boot. I hurried with her back into the hall and up the stairs, Áine an inconsolable wreck. There was Annie, walking back from the spa with a beautiful smile on her face. Áine was overjoyed and went right into her arms, with any misery and Poppa forgotten.
That night, we ordered room service. We heard laughter outside our window. Our room
overlooks the entrance to the hotel, and we could see the Canadian contingent of our group,
trying to get into one cab. It was quite funny to witness and they were all laughing at themselves. I turned to look at Áine, who was already asleep.
"What a nice group we have on tour," I said to Annie.
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