Everybody gets an ear-worm from time to time. You know. An ear-worm. A haunting little tune that gets stuck in your head all day and just won’t go away. The primo inductee into the Ear-Worm Hall of Fame is “It’s a Small World” from the ride at Walt Disney World. You ride that sucker — or just walk by on your way to the Drunken Tea-Cups — and you are going to be humming it until Tinker Bell flies down the wire and sets off the fireworks at closing time.
I bet you’re singing it under your breath right now!
Fun fact about “It’s a Small World.” The ride was originally created for the 1964 New York World’s Fair. My mama went. That’s remarkable because prior to 1964, the extent of Tommie Ellis Huckaby’s travels had been Jacksonville Beach, Florida, and the North Georgia mountains. But the Porterdale Women’s Club, in 1964, rode the train to the World’s Fair and my mama rode it with them. I wish I could have been a fly on that wall.
She brought me back two things. A New York Yankee baseball cap and a music box that played “It’s a Small World.” She had ridden the ride and thought it was the most remarkable thing ever. I still have that music box, and it still plays the song and I still lift the lid and listen when I’m missing her. I seem to listen more and more these days.
Now I told you all that to tell you this.
I’ve been in Ireland the past week or so and they have a more concise expression for the small world sentiment. They say, “It’s a wee world, it is.”
I was reminded a couple of times this week that it is, indeed, a wee world.
Get the picture. I was sitting in a pub in Killarney, Ireland. You are familiar with Killarney. You hear Bing Crosby sing about it every Christmas. “The holly green, the ivy green, the prettiest picture you’ve ever seen, I’m handing you no blarney . . .” That Killarney.
I was in good company. I was with David and Sandy Henderson, wishing he were back in the kitchen cooking the fish we were about to eat with our chips, and Jack and Maurine Paulk, of the Fitzgerald Paulks. Jack played football for Bobby Dodd at Georgia Tech. I love him anyway.
A couple sat down in the booth beside us. He was wearing the universal symbol of brotherhood — a red shirt with a black Super-G on the left chest. “How ‘bout them Dawgs!” was my immediate greeting. Instantly, it was old home week in Killarney.
My new friend graduated from Avondale High School in 1980. Crawford Kennedy was his high school coach. He wrestled, so he knew — and loved — the late Mike Chonko, who left this world far too early, many years ago. His wife was a graduate of Tucker High School. I was coaching at Clarkston, just around the corner from both of them, while they were trying to finish up at Tucker and Avondale.
But wait! The world gets smaller still. Or is the term, “more wee?” They now live in Gwinnett County and read this scribe’s column each week. And they didn’t just say that to make me feel good. They talked about the specific columns they liked best. It’s a wee world. I had to travel 4,000 miles to find the two people who still enjoy my writing.
But, wait. There’s more.
We attended a show in a castle Tuesday night, complete with minstrels and jesters and a fake Duke and Earl. They pulled a “random” person from the audience and sent him to the dungeon. He was required to talk his way out of being “executed.” Obviously this person — a handsome young man with a touch of merriment in his eyes — had kissed the Blarney Stone on numerous occasions because he was more than a bit blessed with the gift of eloquence. He quickly had the audience squarely on his side and was spared.
I spoke with him afterward and learned that he was Mark Daly, a senator of the Republic of Ireland. I must admit, I cannot imagine any U.S. senator being as humble or accessible as Mark Daly. Honesty compels me to admit, however, that he didn’t really understand his audience because he seemed quite proud of the fact that he is 13th cousin to former Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, spelling notwithstanding, of Chicago. When I countered with the fact that I am part and parcel of Mike Huckabee’s clan, he quickly informed me that he had met Cousin Sarah Huckabee Sanders three days earlier when she visited Ireland with President Trump, so his questionable family connections were quickly forgiven.
But then Sen. Mark informed me that he had marched in not one, but two, St. Patrick Day parades in New York City — with the 69th Irish Regiment that tried their best to kill all my ancestors during what he called the Civil War. I assured him that it was the War Between the States and that there was nothing civil about it.
A consummate politician, Mark Daley saved himself one more time by revealing that his lifelong dream is to be in Savannah on St. Patrick’s Day sometime.
We can make that dream come true, y’all. Mark’s a good egg, so somebody out there with some juice get in touch with me and let’s make that happen. After all, it’s a wee world, where dreams still do come true.