In Nenagh wandering around the old and the new and started to follow an old wall. Set into it were the stations of the cross. Familiar from our church I began to follow them. I would study these as I knelt or sat in church with the hum of the priests Latin intonation, singing his way thru the mass. Someone was ahead of me and I realised she had crutches as I came up to her. We smiled at each other, saying hello and I slowed down and we chatted about the weather, as you do.
“Where are ya from now?”She asked unable to pick the accent. Most people assume we are from America. What!!!! I know…
“New Zealand” I say
“Ahh, we had two sisters out there but they’re back now. They say it’s very much like Ireland. “It tis indeed” I reply having trouble keeping the Irish out of me. “Pleenty of green”. She tells me about the grounds and how they used to keep chickens and cows before it all got built up around the convent and I confirm that she is a Nun. We talk about how the grounds have changed from a goal and an infirmary in the old days to a convent and school and now it is a heritage area. How the church numbers have dwindled and grown again in some areas.
She tells me she has just had a hip operation and she’s getting some exercise. I tell her Mum had that and just to taker her time. She’s walked further than she intended to and must now turn around. I tell her I will see her safely back. She’s tiny enough that I could easily have picked her up and carried her. Short very white hair, glasses that magnify her twinkling blue eyes She invites me in but I tell her I have lost Gilbert somewhere along the way so will head back down the road. It’s been a lovely 15 minutes. I wait as she negotiates the stair and turn and leave her. God bless she calls as I turn to wave.