March 14, 2012


Buenos dias,
Well, after last week’s short column, I am back! Back from 80 degree weather in Mexico, to the low 70s here in North Dakota. It’s funny, but the winters you need a vacation, the weather is too tough to leave, and now when we have a winter like this, you wonder why you left!
But, I tell you what, I did enjoy it. The people were friendly, the weather great, the food fabulous, and the drinks…I heard they were all right, too.
Now, since we will celebrate St. Patrick’s Day later this week, I feel obliged to tell you that my wife is a Murphy. And that is about as Irish as you can get. Maybe an O’Kelley or an O’Malley is a little more, but I doubt it.
And our Mexican vacation proved to me that the Irish were not a sea-faring people. I know they have claimed there are artifacts that prove otherwise, but I am here to tell you, they must be mistaken.
The first indication that the Irish do not have sea legs was our fishing trip. Deep sea fishing trip. Shirley was concerned that the ocean would be rough and she would get sick. I assured her that the forecast was for a calm day. It was calm. Then the winds came up and Shirley got sick. And we were still three miles from the harbor! In a taxi!
Well, that nixed it for her. So Mike and I went. It was just like every fishing trip I have ever gone on. You know. The ones where they say, “You should have been here last week, they were really biting!” We fought waves for four hours and caught five little fish. That came out to about $60 a fish for the two of us. And we didn’t get to keep the fish. And the water was so rough, I only drank one beer. It was lucky Shirley didn’t go. She’s Irish, you know.
And then there was the raft ride. We went to a place called Xplor. It is a maze of  caves kind of like the ones in the Black Hills. Stalactites and stalagmites, or whatever they are called. And you wind through this tunnel on a little wooden raft. I mean a real little wooden raft. With two healthy (substitute heavy) people on board. Shirley in the front of the boat, and me in the aft. See I know boat words. I saw it in a crossword puzzle on the plane.
Shirley is in the front and we each have paddles. Not oars, mind you, paddles. Paddles strapped on your hands. And then you paddle this boat for miles through this cave, supposedly admiring the formations. The sign says, “The experience is mostly enjoyed in silence!” Evidently, they did not realize that my Irish steering partner would have trouble guiding the boat down this lit channel. Now, you may not have realized this, but when you need to steer the boat to the right, the person in the front has to paddle more with the left hand, and kind of brake with the right. And vice versa. After one hour of my screaming as we crashed into and broke a million years of those hangy-down deals, the channel master or whatever he is called, came and towed us gringos from the cave. We were asked not to come back. They didn’t have to bother. One more trip could end a marriage that has lasted over four decades.
That reminds me of a story: Murphy was telling Finnegan that he had a problem. “Me wife has a habit of staying up until two in the morning and I can’t seem to break her of it,” says Murphy.
Finnegan asks, “What does she do until two in the morning, laddy?”
Murphy. “Why the lass is waitin’ for me to get home!”
And just remember, “God invented whiskey to keep the Irish from ruling the world!”