Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | March 17, 2015

When Our Irish Eyes Are Smiling

My Daddy's Irish (and Scottish) eyes

My Daddy’s Irish (and Scottish) eyes

St. Patrick’s Day 2015.

I changed my profile pic on Facebook because my recent picture looks so much like my Daddy it’s creepy.  I cropped to the eyes above, but everything including the tilt of the head was my father – except his eyes were green, not blue.  His eyes had that focus.  And they smiled.

His Irish eyes were Southern eyes.  I remember Daddy singing ‘Danny Boy’ and ‘When Irish Eyes Are Smiling’.  That’s about as explicitly Irish as he got.  The rest of his Irishness was strained through 200 years of Southern-ness to his birth in 1919.  His Scot-Irish grandmother Maley said, “We’re Arash” in her West Tennessee accent.

If our clan’s character traits of stubbornness, fierce independence, family pride and loyalty are Scot-Irish, then so be it.  Maybe it’s just “us’n”.  Daddy’s quick temper could’ve been Celtic – Scot-Irish or Scottish – or just him.  Oh, and he had a bit of blarney with his joke and story telling.

Regardless of their origin, when his Irish eyes were smiling others did too.  Family and folks loved my Daddy.

When I die, I hope my children, grandchildren, Clan kin and friends remember me as my Celtic eyes smiling.

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My late wife Nellie’s maiden name was Kyle.  She was Scot-Irish too.   A lot.

Nellie's Irish Eyes - and English, German and Amer-Indiian

Nellie’s Irish Eyes – and English, German and Amer-Indiian

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Nellie Katherine’s eyes were part of the smile that lit up her face.  Almost all of her pictures shine with her beautiful smiling eyes.  Her smiles define the vimeo we made for her memorial.  Then, she passed her smiling eyes down.  Here’s how we look almost 300 years removed from the Auld Sod.

Our Irish Eyes

Our Family’s Irish Eyes

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We had eyes for each other for the whole of our adult lives.  The gleam in our eyes became the fruit of lives.

This meeting of the eyes

This meeting of the eyes


38 years later

38 years later


The new light of Nellie's eyes

The new light of Nellie’s eyes

St. Patrick’s Day and every day is made its best when our Irish eyes are laughing.  We love to laugh.

Best when our Irish eyes are laughing

Best when our Irish eyes are laughing

Yeah, we’re Irish.  Scot-Irish.  Culture commands.  We are who we are.  After 300 years here, I know we wear orange and drink green beer on this day.  Happy St Patrick’s Day 2015!  And, God Save the South.



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