|Bonnie on Delta's SkyDeck at JFK Airport in New York.|
The first was that I complete his tithe to his church for the rest of the year. He had made them a promise and a commitment, and he wanted to see it through. Just the kind of guy Pop was.
Now, when it came to all the trips we took, just the two of us over the years since Mom passed in 2011, he had always regretted that my wife, Bonnie, was never able to go with us because we were either gone too long or too much of her vacation time was already spoken for, or we were just too spontaneous and left before her work - that has strict time off notification policies - could accommodate.
So as he lay gasping for breath on his hospital bed, in the wee hours of the morning right before he passed, he said, "Take Bonnie to Ireland." Our visit to the Emerald Isle in April of 2014 had always been the highlight trip of his life and he longed to go back. We had, in fact, held several discussions on the best ways to do it, and we were planning on him, Bonnie, and myself all going back once his health was good enough.
That day never came. But his second and last wish has been fulfilled. Bonnie and I are sitting in a Dublin hotel as I write this. I had written a series of blog posts from that trip, starting with this one - if you'd like to compare - and my hope is to do the same this trip.
Unlike that first trip, where Dad and I traveled counter-clockwise around the Republic of Ireland, this time Bonnie and I are going clockwise, and will see a few things Pop and I didn't. Several of the same things, yes, because there are some things that simply must be visited when you travel all the way here from the States.
I won't bore you with the details from our trip over, but let me just say that due to Pop's generosity, we flew First Class (Business Class for European readers). And wow, has it spoiled me.
We are once again renting a car for the trip and I am once again driving from the right side of the vehicle, on the left side of the road. Very different. (See the photo.) And let me just give all future travelers this one word of advice: if this is the first time you're doing this, DO NOT SPEND YOUR FIRST NIGHT IN DUBLIN. Driving down into Dublin from the airport - even if you were to be completely comfortable - is often harrowing and frequently terrifying. What you don't see in that photo are my hands warping the steering wheel out of shape from the stress.
Seriously, don't drive in Dublin. If you do, park your car at the hotel and don't even think about it until it's time to leave. Which is what we are doing.
Two days in Dublin, one each in Wexford, Cork, Lahinch, and Galway, with a two day respite in Killarney, where we will take in the Ring of Kerry. Then back to Dublin for the long flights home.
More to come.
Mark's Musings is published on an occasional basis but that may change without notice. This blog is considered to be a digital periodical publication and is filed as such with the U.S. Library of Congress; ISSN 2154-9761. I believe Dad would be delighted that we are here.