Wednesday, October 16, 2013

If It Hadn't Been for the Potato Famine

If it hadn't been for the potato famine I sure as hell wouldn't be here writing these lines, wherever they're leading, nor would my brother and sister be living their good lives in California and Florida, respectively, may their lives be full of joy, though if not for the Great Hunger that would be moot, would it not. In the current but limited understanding of the meaning of it all, nothing wonderful can happen to you if you haven't been born.

My mother and father, too, would not have been my parents without the potato famine, or even parents at all, if they themselves had not been been born from non-great grandparents who hadn't been birthable either, because their would-have-been parents, suddenly not suffering extreme starvation, thanks to complete faminelessness, were instead living good history in the bliss of a bounteous mid-19th century Ireland, prospering on a healthy diet - including potatoes - and having well-fed Irish families whose respective sons and daughters never met by chance in a tragic diaspora.

Centuries later, from the auld sod to a mountainside in Japan of all places - where as the traveler in the family I finally settled down - I think often of the sacrifice of those families back then who, after heart-rivening consideration, scraped hunger into pence and then into pounds to send off in steerage the healthiest, best-suited young family member, whom they would see nevermore but who might survive, sailing away beyond a life's horizon to the lowest rung of NYC, who then lived far enough along time's thread to meet and pass these genes down the unbroken line from all those folks who had gone before, whom I'll never know, though now and then I glimpse them in the mirror.

1 comment:

Deb said...

All these leave-takings, for thousands of generations, as the younger and stronger push out to newer and hopefully greener pastures.

And here we sit, the latest pearl at the end of those strings, sometimes not as appreciative as we could be. Of our own strings, and certainly others' strings. All of humanity, on the move.