Mary-Elizabeth Briscoe

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Dem Bones, dem bones...

Heavy rain and gale force winds. Winter in Ireland has settled in. The first time in the five or six weeks we've been here that we have been indoors all day.  Probably a blessing for our middle aged bodies.  Hours and hours of walking have started to take their toll.  And of course if forces me to spend time with my writing.  Five more queries sent today.  Now this blog post, while my vegetable soup stock simmers and my butternut squash for tonight's dinner roasts. A very productive day.  And of course my research...

Last night Christine and I made our way to a local pub for, no not whiskey, but an open session.  I think open sessions are my favorite music to hear in the pubs.  In case you're not familiar, open session simply means that anyone can show up with their instrument and play together.  It's really fun.  Last night a rather distinguished looking man was part of the session.  One of the instruments he played reminded me of wooden spoons, but the sound was different, they were played differently and of course looked different.  But it was hard to see.  Then a table closer to the group of musicians opened and we hurried over and settled in.  A flick of the wrist and the melodic beat once again captivated me.  I had to figure out what these things were.  

My chance finally came when the group stopped for a bit of a break.  I gathered my courage, leaned over and asked him what they were. "Bones," he replied. My face must have given my confusion away as he nodded and repeated, "Bones.  Look," and in his hand were two large bones.  Rib bones from a cow to be exact. He sat down next to me He proceeded to show me how you hold them and ways to play them.  I was intrigued, "Where do you get them?"  So naive am I that I was surprised when the answer was, "the butcher."  He explained just what to ask for with a brief explanation of how to prepare them followed with the link to his blog.  I imagined going to the local butcher, boiling up my new cow ribs and attempting to dry them, sand and oil them in order to play these fun percussion type instruments. I giggled, leaned over and told Finbarr, we were on a first name basis by now, "I'm going to get some and you're going to teach me to play."  He laughed, chatted a bit and went back to rejoin the group.

As a percussionist, I was somewhat embarrassed at not being familiar with playing the bones so have spent the good part of this morning learning more about their origin, etc.  While a trip to the butcher is on the schedule I understand that it can take up to a year until they are ready for playing so while they "age" I will purchase a pair and begin my lessons.  Next, the bodhran...

Funny how these things happen.  The ways you meet people.  We have met some incredibly interesting people so far.  A famous ice swimmer and motivational speaker, and now Finbarr, a well known businessman, musician, astronomer/astrologer and family to the world famous ice cream shop here in Dingle. Actually, the best ice cream I have ever tasted.  Sorry Ben and Jerry...  

Anyway, I'm just glad that as a shy introvert I have summoned the courage to be here and put myself out there so that these meetings can happen.  Now if I can just run into a literary agent looking for new writers...I'll keep you posted on dem bones...