My grandfather Johnny Igoe was a little Irish man. He stood a mere 5’ 6” but was a giant to me when his poetic voice rolled across the lamp-lit porch floor. He always wore a felt hat, a white beard, and often a pair of bicycle clips on his pant legs in the later years so he wouldn’t trip himself. His blue eyes were excavations, deep, and musical, caught up in other places you could tell, places where poems rang or memories, old names, old faces, the geography of mankind. They held places he had left and feared he’d never to get back to. Each of his canes knew the back of your knees, the rump, in a grab at attention. Older townsfolk, walking by, talked to him at the open kitchen window, the curl of pipe smoke rising between them, while grandma was at her oven, her room full of breads and sweets.
The baby had gone to sleep and the boys and Eva, her daughter, had gone to watch Manton drill with the other men in the exercise/muster the village held each month. She cherished the silence. It reminded her of the quiet of the convent—not a pleasant memory, but she did experience some beautiful moments in the years she lived there. She hurried to the kitchen table, wiped it clean, dried it, and spread out the fine linen cloth she had spent too much money on, opened a bottle of ink, got out a stylus, and began to write.