So St. Patrick's Day is around the corner and it got me reminiscing about my first time out of the country in 2000. I was about to enter the 10th grade I think? and my dad and younger sister and I took an 11 day trip around Ireland and Northern Ireland. I met up with my long time pen pal Trevor. (also an artist now!) His family was so kind and generous, I still remember the strawberry rhubarb pie his mom made, and his sister talking about gymnastics. They ran a market, so the fruit was incredibly fresh. I should really drop them a line!
some 35mm snaps from my disposable
I will confess that I did witness a very scary thing in Belfast. We were at a shopping center and I separated from my family to walk to Marks & Spencer. There was a small crowd of people forming a U shape around a brick wall, but I couldn't see what they were staring at.
A small band of thugs, who almost looked a bit like greasers from the 50s, were biting on the knuckles of a young man. Literally biting his fist. A few things struck me as bizarre -
Firstly, the crowd was incredibly close to them, and the men weren't intimidated or scared off at all - in fact they were oblivious. Secondly, the crowd was horrified and shouted, but no one took the initiative to stop them. Finally after punching the young man in the stomach, they sneered at him, smacked a nasty smile over yellow teeth and left him to slowly slide down the brick wall.
I distinctly remember an old woman, a petite little lady, kneeling down to him and taking his hand in her glove. It was so kind, even though she neither said nor did nothing, just sat with him.
I'll never understand the Northern Ireland conflict fully, and was too young to comprehend what natives were trying to explain. But the incident left a remarkable impression upon on me.
All I remember was the comment "There are people who benefit from these kinds of things". I'm not sure if I want to know who.