Saturday, April 27, 2013

“The Irish Charm” by Nancy O’Brien

“For each petal on the shamrock this brings a wish your way – good health, good luck and happiness for today and every day.” – old Irish saying
We all know what show and tell is, but for my writing course assignment, besides showing an item, I have to tell my story on paper and read it to the class.
Seems simple enough – right brain meets left brain and have your pen ready.
The other writers in the class have molded beautiful stories from their items .They must have a muse that has not found me.
I pass around the sterling silver necklace with a tiny cauldron and a wee filament of chain to hold the lid. There are hallmarks and a three leaf clover, probably agate on the tiny pot...
This old charm was stashed in the corner of a jewel box. It must have rested there for years attached to knotted clumps of a fine silver chain secure in the fact it could not be untied. Tarnished did not begin to describe its blackened state.
Mom peered at it and said, “This was Nana’s charm – she brought it from Ireland but I don’t know anything more about it. I must have put it aside to keep when we were cleaning out the house.”
 “Can I have it?” I asked.
“Yours for the taking,” Mom replied.
And so I became the next custodian of the wee cauldron – taking it home and giving it a bath in silver cleaner.
I put the polished charm on a choker chain, with the feet pricking my neck and the cauldron hanging askew, a wearable piece of art to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day – and then put away for another year.
Or so I thought….
My mom, Doris Rebecca Foster, was born in Ireland in the town of Moville in County Donegal in 1911.
She was almost two when she left Ireland with her family. They sailed on the passenger ship Teutonic, arriving in Portsmouth, Maine, March 24, 1913. And from there on to Weyburn, Saskatchewan.
If this cauldron could talk what history would it share?
I wonder, Did Nana wear the wee charm as the ship tossed in the Atlantic?
Did she hold it for good luck as they travelled west?
Did she hope there would be pots of gold at the end of rainbows in the new land?
What frivolous thoughts – I’ll share my research on the pot instead.
The upright anchor signifies silver and the city mark for Birmingham, England, where it was made by JC Cook and Son.
The alphabet letter marks the year the piece was identified by the assay office – 1850.
The lion verifies the sterling content.
People who believe in stones say that the moss agate stone in the shamrock helps to balance emotional energy.   The agate enhances concentration, persistence, endurance and success in one's endeavors. It is an abundance stone, bringing the wearer health, friends and riches.
Just the qualities needed to complete a writing assignment
Mom would always tell me, “You are so lucky.”
I am. Lucky to wear this charm and to have a story to share.

Nancy O'Brien has always loved to tell stories, and has just recently begun to write them down. As a retired nurse, former therapeutic clown, mother of two, grandmother of one, she has always been a keen observer to life's nuances. Her observations and experiences are where she finds the inspiration for her stories. She has participated in many writing workshops, and has published works in the poetry anthology, A Woman's Write.
See Brian Henry's schedule here, including writing workshops and creative writing courses in Kingston, Peterborough, Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, Georgetown, Milton, Oakville, Burlington, St. Catharines, Hamilton, Dundas, Kitchener, Guelph, London, Woodstock, Orangeville, Newmarket, Barrie, Orillia, Gravenhurst, Sudbury, Muskoka, Peel, Halton, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

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