Irishness Versus the HOA
Irishness Versus the HOA
As a youngster I believed it would be a joyful thing to be a member of an ethnic heritage. To be able to participate in all the traditions and practices of a specific heritage. I was well into adulthood before I learned that my paternal great grandfather and paternal great grandmother had immigrated from Ireland, individually, as children. I was Irish. What better traditions and practices could there be? They say that everyone is Irish, or wish they were.
I embraced my newly acquired ethic identity. I began an intense assault upon Ancestry.com. Fortunately, my paternal grandmother had kept detailed records of family events, such as birth and death dates, marriages, anniversaries and other events – all of which served as the base information for my research.
On my maternal side I didn’t have as much information but was able to glean out some facts that helped. My mother’s maiden name was Murray – a fine but not so common Irish name. I’ve never been able discover much about the Murray side. I know they settled early on in the Baltimore area and some of them moved on to Missouri, but details are sketchy.
No matter, I was satisfied I had enough evidence to make my case. I was Irish. I was the only person who knew the proper response to “Top O’ the mornin to ya.” I could share an Irish joke at any time, or at any place, with minimum prompting.
I traveled to Ireland twice. Once in 1985 and again in 2000. The second time I almost didn’t come back. I prowled the church cemeteries looking for Jordan tombstones. I visited the village of Cloughjordan. I enjoyed a pint at Pat Jordan’s Bar in Clarinbridge. I stayed at the Red River B&B in Ballina owned by Robert and Dolores Jordan. I visited the ruins of Ballyalahan Castle built in the 13th century by Jordan De Exeter which was the earliest known residence of the Jordan’s in Ireland.
On a recent birthday my daughter gifted me a DNA kit from Ancestry. The results startled and depressed me. It said I was 16% Irish, 66% English and the remainder a smattering of other European countries.
At first, I was shattered and disappointed, heart broken and angry. How could I only be 16%? I felt 100%.
In reading Irish history I was reminded that in the 16th century England sent thousands of Englishmen to Ireland to assimilate with the Irish with the intent of eventually eliminating the Irish race. Need I tell you that didn’t work. A good many of those Englishmen found they liked the Irish better. But it could explain the 66% in my DNA. I took a deep breath and moved on, exaggerating my 16%.
Which brings me to the HOA. If any of you live in a community that is governed by a Homeowners Association, I would wager you could tell some stories. HOA board members are not necessarily the most amiable folks on the block. Most are just people with no experience at managing anything beyond their daily lives, much less an entire community of homeowners. To help most, if not all, hire a management company who assigns a managing agent (MA). We have one in our organization. Here is where the Irishness versus the HOA comes into play.
The HOA board and MA decided some months ago to revise our by-laws and declaration. They had their law firm do the actual revisions. They then submitted the revisions to the homeowners, conducted meetings, and by homeowner majority vote adopted the revisions.
After all of that I still had a few questions and concerns which I presented in writing to the HOA board at a monthly board meeting. Over the next few months I couldn’t seem to get answers that made sense. I kept pressing the issue and the MA got more and more irritated with me. He gave me some nonsense responses, he beat around the bush, and would not provide valid answers.
The secretary of the board had previously informed me that the managing agent was the board’s hired spokesman.
My frustration boiled up in a subsequent monthly board meeting and my Irishness took over. I told the MA – “You must have some Irish in you because you sure can bring the Blarney.”
The MA, who is of Hispanic heritage, took it as a racial comment and noted in the meeting minutes that I had directed a racial comment at him. After I demanded the MA comment about me being a racist be removed from the meeting minutes their attorney informed me; “Some board members claimed Irish heritage and resented the fact that my Blarney remark inferred all Irishmen are liars.”
Blarney is not lying. No definition anywhere uses any derivation of the word lie in the definition of Blarney. Blarney is the gift of gab and can be nonsense, evasiveness, foolishness, charm etc. Thousands upon thousands of people travel to Blarney Castle to kiss the Blarney Stone each year hoping to acquire the gift of gab, charm and persuasion. I don’t believe any one of them kiss the stone in hopes of becoming a liar. And to play the racial card over Blarney? My, my what’s next?
We remain unresolved.