Driving Home from My Father’s House by Way of County Waterford
Mom was sure we’d get through the storm if we ate
a hot breakfast first. Eight inches of snow was blowing
into twelve. Outside my pickup was warming up
for the 220 miles of hazardous Montana spring weather.
We filled our plates, drank fresh juice, and answered our cell phones.
Friends from Billings were warning us the sooner you leave
the better. Which way should I go, I asked Dad, Judith Gap
or Roundup? I rehearsed for certain trouble: tire chains, 4 wheel low,
melting snow for water; but the worst that’s ever happened to me
are things that never did. There’s truth in that saying and I give
my ancestors the credit. Dad peppered his eggs and blew on his coffee,
then measured us with that look. He jabbed thick Irish fingers towards
his two grandkids. Listen, I’ve got sometime to tell you. In the midst
of road reports and measured drifts, he told them where their names
were born: where the nose of County Waterford meets the County of Cork
are sixty nine acres of ancient O’Keeffe homestead. He swirled a potato
in his egg and repeated the words I was raised with: You’ll get to where
you want to go by remembering where you’re from.