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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
Thursday, August 30 2001

Mitchelstown

Jetlag twoThough it seems unlikely, the jetlag from our recent trip overseas seems less severe than that from my trip to Pennsylvania earlier this summer. My theory is that the extra long time it takes to fly from London makes for an exceptionally long day, but that can be overcome by a good night of well-deserved sleep, enabling the body to bounce back in a day. That's the theory. Still, there are clear symptoms of things out of whack. But they may be more attributable to the new puppy in the house than the 14 hours spent en route on Monday.

Much of Wednesday I felt like I was still somewhere over there...in the square in Mitchelstown, Ireland, waiting for an Eirebus to Dublin, waiting for someone to return the dozen calls we'd left for rescue after the car's breakdown.

Believing that everything done in faith has a purpose, Mitchelstown may have been a lesson we had to learn. If we had some major role to play there, we failed to discern it, more concerned for our own schedule than divine appointments. A small dairy town 30 miles or so from Cork, Ireland's second-biggest city (180,000), it was our closest look at the Old Country's own culture. There aren't big differences with our culture like onces you'd encounter in India or Russia or the Far East, but there are clear marks of departure.

The main one is that Ireland is still a land of small towns, which dovetails into Nanty Glo as topic A in this space. Adding to that connection, the small towns have many of the marks people of a certain age remember fondly about Nanty Glo, Vintondale, Ebensburg...bustling main streets, supermarkets and variety stores on the street rather than out of town with their own parking lots. Most of them have a square with benches, lined by hotels and pubs, news agencies and houses. In Ireland, teenagers and young adults seem everywhere, which also reminds us of an earlier generation in our own lives when the bulge on the demographic chart was greatly skewed toward youth rather than seniority, in contrast to our present era. It's like a step back in time.

Still, there are many modern conveniences...ATMs or cash machines as they call them, on the sidewalks in front of the towns' several banks...color TVs in most B&B and hotel rooms, smaller than our average set but their programming still forming the mores that shape modern cultures everywhere; on average, cars are smaller but no less numerous per capita; the busses are bigger than ours; pickup trucks and vans of any kind are comparatively rare, used for business purposes rather than family transport, though even there exceptions are not hard to see. Cell phones are more common than stateside (this is true generally, as the United States lags the rest of the world in telephone technology, being much more deeply invested in copper phonelines).

There are combination news agencies-book-and gift/souvenir stores reminiscent of the long-gone Nanty Glo News Agency. As in England, Ireland has ubiquitous tabloid newspapers with the topless tart of the day in full color taking up much of page 3, but in both countries there are no triple-X movie houses or "adult stores" in evidence, Though I wasn't there long enough to observe it first-hand, Ireland reportedly has Europe's largest regular church attendance, purportedly trailing that in the United States, but several times that of most of the Continental countries.

Though clear days are rare, the temperatures are mild, even in the winter. Palm trees, smaller than those in Florida, California, the Gulf states and Arizona, are commonly seen, even in the north of Ireland, though no dates like in California or coconuts like in Florida are grown there.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy

Cure for what ails

A man goes to the doctor and tells him that he hasn't been feeling well. The doctor examines him, leaves the room and comes back with three different bottles of pills. The doctor says, "Take the green pill with a big glass of water when you get up. Take the blue pill with a big glass of water after lunch. Then just before going to bed, take the red pill with another big glass of water."

Startled to be put on so much medicine, the man stammers, "My goodness, doc, exactly what's my problem?"

Doctor replies: "You're not drinking enough water."

Sent by Mike Harrison

Perspectives

Life must be lived forward but can only be understood backwards.

—Soren Kierkegaard

Sent by Andrew

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