Sometimes I just wonder, you know? My father was a shoemaker; he was a shoemaker back in the day when shoemakers actually made shoes. I remember once many years ago when I was just out of primary school he made me a fine pair of black leather brogues, all hand stitched, waxed and polished bright. I remember how he used cut the patterns from large sheets of leather. I remember the dyes, the smells, the tip-tap of the tacks being tapped in…yeah those shoes where truly works of art, a master craftsman at work. Of course I refused to wear them! I wanted bought shoes. I was ashamed at the thought of wearing shoes made by my father.

Some years later, when I started to get some sense of what life was really about I asked my father nicely if he’d make me a pair of hand-made shoes-his response would not be printable here!

So is there a lesson there? You know, I believe that there are several: When I was 15 I thought that my father was stupid but by the time I was 21 I was amazed at how much he had learned!; and in general we don’t value what we have and are too often spellbound by that which really holds no value…you know, the shiny, the faraway hill, the grass on the other side…indeed…indeed…ní nach ionadh…

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