The message boards
are where I met John and where I met those of you that I'm not actually
closely related to, and where I came to know all of you. It was at
least partly because of John's warm enthusiasm that I kept coming
back to the boards.
John loved the
message boards. He liked learning, sharing knowledge, having a laugh,
meeting new people and having any old excuse to talk about Ireland.
I've had it in the back of my mind that I was sort of glad that he
probably wasn't aware of how AOL had reduced the boards so much -
he certainly would have protested vehemently, had he known!
It's fitting that
the last post he wrote was an almost poetic
love letter to Mayo, the Irish county that he loved best.
I wish I'd saved that post so we could post it again, but it's gone
with the old boards.
Those of us who
knew John's funny, warm, knowledgeable presence on this board will
miss John very very much. Those of you who did not know John, well,
it's a pity - you would have loved him, too.
or "Seamus" as we called him, was such a fixture on the
Irish boards for a long time, we all have stories to tell about him.
I thought it might be appropriate to tell how I first came to know
Seamus on the boards two years or so ago. If you have some good memory
of John to share or have words to say in his memory, please do.
Seamus was one
of the first people I came to know on the Irish message boards, and
when he found out that my first name is Mary, but that I am not usually
called that, he told me a funny story about Irish girls named Mary.
I'll see if I can get it right here.
Seamus was first
married to Mary Patricia. Mary Patricia was born in a diocese where
ALL baby girls were given the first name of Mary, whether the parents
wanted it or not. Mary Patricia grew up calling herself Pat. NOT Mary.
And all the other little girls in the area grew up calling themselves
Kate or Sarah or Margaret or Nora, NEVER Mary.
married Mary Patricia, developed a great fondness for Irish girls
named Mary-who-weren't-called-Mary. A number of years ago, Mary Patricia
died, leaving Seamus devastated.
Then a new Mary-not-called-Mary
came into his life, Mary Bridget. And knowing a Truly Fine Thing when
he saw it, and being fond of Irish girls-named-Mary-who-weren't-CALLED-Mary,
Seamus married Mary Bridget. Who is called Bridget.
I know Seamus
and Bridget were married something over ten years, and that Seamus
adored Bridget. Once, when asked what his favorite possession was,
he responded with old-fashioned courtliness "My wife - if I may
call her that", noting that it was politically incorrect to call
Bridget a possession. If anything, I think he belonged to Bridget
and not the other way around.
As another Mary-not-called-Mary,
Seamus welcomed me to these boards, which he thoroughly enjoyed, as
he welcomed everyone. And he welcomed me into his life, for which
I am grateful.
A few other little
wonderful things about Seamus. He and Bridget have an adored (and
very handsome) border collie named Seamus. One had to specify whether
one was talking about man or collie when using the name of Seamus.
color was green. He loved Irish music. His favorite sports team was
Notre Dame's football team. His favorite movie of all time was "The
Quiet Man". His dream vacation was a month by the River Moy in
County Mayo, and Ireland was his favorite place to visit. He loved
Russian Salad Dressing, but that was probably only because there isn't
an Irish Salad Dressing.
About a year ago,
he was asked if he'd ever committed a crime, and said "not yet!",
which made me think that he was hopeful of a bit of belated juvenile
Seamus never made
fun of people. He was a Renaissance man, a man of many interests and
all sorts of eclectic knowledge (favorite indoor game: Trivial Pursuit),
and always, always a gentleman.
And our gentleman
Seamus - John - will be missed very much.