Day 110: Pat’s Cat

As she sat in her chair sipping Rwandan dark roast coffee in the library of the Emerald Victorian on Raglan Road in Hibernia, Laetitia was deep in thought. Starting tomorrow, she would begin to tour the American West, starting in Hawaii and Alaska and then the states west of the Mississippi River in the lower 48 United States. Numerous Hollywood films and novels about cowboys and Indians had created a mystique that she thought would make the western tour popular. She would do the eastern United States in due course, but thought that she would likely do a tour of the UK in between. Eventually she would probably do Canada and continental Europe and more of the world, but at this point she hadn’t decided where.

She wasn’t leading a tour today, but she needed to write a limerick. She wasn’t coming up with anything until she thought of Patsy’s cat, “Limerick.” On one of her tours a woman named Patsy had asked her to write a limerick for Limerick. Patsy was taking out her garbage one night when she saw a small gray furry animal that she thought was a rat rummaging through the trash. When she returned after obtaining a flashlight and shovel from the garage, she found that the animal was in fact a kitten. She fed him and took him to the veterinarian on the next day to have his health checked, and found that it had a microchip that revealed its owner’s name and that the kitten had been born on St. Patrick’s Day. She tried to contact the owner and found the kitten belonged to a student who apparently dumped him when he left town. She decided to keep the kitten and named him “Limerick” because of his birthday. This is Limerick’s limerick.

Now Limerick’s a grey Irish cat
Who was born on the day of St. Pat
Whom Patsy took home
‘Cause she wished to atone
The day that she thought him a rat.

Day 109: Dong Throng

Laetitia had started her career with Mind’s Eye Limerick Tours in Dublin and was pleased to be back with new group at the end of her tour in Ireland. It is a city rich in history and culture, and it has had a significant impact on theater. It is the birthplace of several well-known playwrights, including Oscar Wilde, Sean O’Casey, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, Brendan Behan, and George Bernard Shaw. Laetitia gave her group the afternoon off to go shopping, since she was taking them to an evening performance of Brian Friel’s play Dancing at Lughnasa at the Abbey Theatre.

As was her custom, Laetitia went early to the pub where she was meeting her group for dinner to have a Kilkenny and come up with a limerick. Sitting next to her at the bar was Patrick, a retired travel agent. As a young man he had worked for a travel agency in Hong Kong, when it was a crown colony. He went to the same church as a Vietnamese woman who worked for the travel agency. They had become friends and eventually married. When they heard that Hong Kong would eventually be given back to China, he brought his wife home to Dublin, where they started their own agency specializing in Asian travel. Many of their clients were women’s groups.

When they began to lead tours in post-war Vietnam, they found few currency exchanges there, so they established their own side business exchanging dong, the Vietnamese currency, for Irish pounds and later euros. Some of the young male staff of the agency claimed that the sign advertising their currency exchange service brought them some unexpected benefits, but Patrick thought they were just bragging. Laetitia thanked Patrick for his story and wrote down the limerick of the day.

A Dubliner, late of Hong Kong
Made a sign for his clients that throng
To Vietnam’s shores
On vacation tours
“Before you depart, get some dong.”

Day 108: Polka Mocha

Avoca is a picturesque village located on the Avoca River in County Wicklow. It was a copper mining and hand-weaving center in times past. Today it is probably better known, at least to BBC fans, as Ballykissangel, because that is where the series was filmed. Laetitia and her group did some hikes through the beautiful Vale of Avoca and visited the monastery at Glendalough before heading to Avoca, where they planned to spend the evening.

As usual Laetitia went early to the pub where she was meeting her group for dinner so she could think about a limerick for the day. She sat at the bar, close enough to a table of young women to hear the complaint of one of them about an encounter with a young man from Rome at a local party that featured international dance music. The woman had taken dance lessons for several years and was proficient in a number of international dance styles such as tango, rumba, jitterbug, and polka. The man was very handsome but had little English, so her attempts to have a conversation with him fell flat. When the band struck up an Eastern European dance tune and she asked him if he wanted to polka, she was dismayed when he led her outside to the shadows and tried to lift her dress. He seemed surprised when she made some indignant remarks and left the dance to go for coffee. Apparently he had picked up enough English slang to confuse “polka” with “poke,” the latter pronounced with an “a” sound at the end as Italians often do. The conversation gave Laetitia the limerick of the day.

When a lass at a dance in Avoca
Asked a man from Rome if he would polka
Much to her distress
He lifted her dress
So she left and went out for a mocha.

Day 107: Hunt and Peck

County Louth was named after the Celtic pagan god Lugh, for which the Lughnasa festival is named, a celebration of the first fruits of the harvest. Louth is the smallest county in land area of all of Ireland and is sometimes known as “The Wee County.” It is an area rich in history and archaeology. Laetitia and her group visited several castles: Termonfeckin, Barmeath (which for a fee will arrange a romantic castle wedding), and Carlingford, a thirteenth century structure (now a ruin) overlooking Carlingford Lough.

Late that afternoon, Laetitia and her group did a walkabout in Termonfeckin, where they were spending the evening. On the way back to their hotel, she noticed the notebook that she kept for writing down limericks was almost full, so she sent the group on and stopped at a local store to buy another. Two women in line ahead of her were gossiping about a local scandal involving a young girl named Brynn and her boss, and it provided the inspiration for the limerick of the day. She wrote it in the old notebook. There were just enough empty pages left in it to finish Ireland. When she went to the western United States in a few days, she would start the new one.

When with her boss Brynn was caught neckin’
Folks gossiped around Termonfeckin
That the randy old jerk
Hired her as typing clerk
With typing skills “huntin’ and peckin’.”