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  • Justin Cancilliere

Luck of the Irish



For the first time in months, the room was warm. It had been a harsh winter.

Subzero temperatures ravaged the region, and warmth had been scarce with just a small wood stove to warm the one-room cottage in which I lived.

My name is James Flannigan. My wife, Lana, and I are Irish settlers from northern North Dakota. We settled our farm in 1875. The year now is 1879. Lana has been my rock in hard times. And in this terrain, there have been plenty. She has helped in every aspect of making and keeping our farm healthy. I can honestly say I don’t know where I’d be without her. She’s the most amazing woman I’ve ever met.

Now I don’t know about you, but I don’t enjoy freezing my buns off. With spring on the way, I was more than ecstatic that the temperatures were warmin’ up. It also meant it was almost time to start plantin’ my crops. And trust me, I was more than ready for it. Lana threw another log into the wood oven for a little more warmth. She turned and smiled at me as I sat in my rocking chair. I loved how the light from the fire caught her blue eyes just so that I felt like I was looking into an endless ocean. And her smile always lit up the room no matter where we were. I loved her with all my heart. She walked over and planted a kiss straight on my lips. I grabbed her by the waist and sat her in my lap. We cuddled for a few moments.

“What do you say we go down the pub later?” Lana asked.

“It’s startin’ to warm up, so I don’t see why not,” I replied.

She stood up and some water on the stove to make some tea. It was almost noon. We always had tea with our lunch around this time every day. Today was cabbage stew. That was one of my favorites.

I stood up and walked to the stove to get a waft of that pleasant aroma. It made my stomach grumble every time she made it. I’m not sure what she put in it, and whenever I would ask, the only response I would get was “Love.” That was as good as an answer as any, I suppose. I grabbed a spoon to have a taste, and she slapped it right out of my hand, she did. All I could do was chuckle. I put my hands on her head and gave her a kiss on her forehead. Lana giggled, and we hugged.

“You better get ready to eat. After lunch, we’re off to the pub. Come tomorrow, it’s our busy season,” she said.

“Yes, dear,” was all I could muster out of my lips. I went to the washbasin and washed my hands and faced. We sat down for lunch and drank our tea. She cleaned the table after we were done and washed the dishes.

Lana grabbed a bar of soap and a towel. She walked out the back door to bath in the stream behind our house. I only knew because I could tell she was excited to go to the pub. And she always bathed before we went out.

The pub was only a few miles from our house. It wouldn’t take long with our horse and buggy to get there at all. But she would still take her time to look perfect. Even though in my mind, she always looked perfect.

Lana took only a few moments to bath but took over an hour to pick a dress, put it on, and do her makeup and hair. She knew that I was a little impatient when it came to her getting ready but always quickly got over it. Once she was done, we made our way to the pub.

Everyone we knew was there. Larry Marsh and his wife, Margaret, who were our best friends were at the bar drinking a pint as we walked in. The band was playing an Irish jig.

The music was soothing and beautiful. I had the most incredible life anyone could ever ask for.

To me, it had to be the luck of the Irish to be so blessed.



#shortstories #writerslife

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