Aug 2, 2011
Ode to Guinness & LotR
My dad will never forget where he was when he heard of Kennedy's assassination. My mom clearly remembers when Sputnik was announced. I have my own dramatic memories such as watching the Challenger explosion live in my fourth grade classroom and, fifteen years later on the other side of a public classroom desk, the attack on the twin towers. I will also remember where I was when I drank my very first Guinness.
It was 1995 and I was on a ferry on my way to Northern Ireland with my best friend, Aaron (you'll see him pop up from time to time as a follower and commenter on this blog). I was taking a year off from college to backpack through Ireland, England, and Scotland (the last being my favorite). None, thereafter, have tasted as good, even the "free" ones I appropriated at the brewery in Dublin.
Me at the Falls of Tarf (look hard)
photograph by Aaron Gilkison
This first was accompanied by another. In a ziploc bag, tucked into a top compartment of my forty-pound pack, was a paperback copy of The Lord of the Rings (LotR). As I trekked my own furry little toes across the beautiful isles, Frodo and Sam were doing likewise towards the horror of Mordor. As I bathed in the Falls of Tarf near Blair Atholl, Frodo did likewise in the Death Marshes, though with considerable more peril. And while I did sleep in castle ruins, I never faced down Ring Wraiths there.
Just as with my first Guinness, I've enjoyed parts of LotR since then, but never in it's entirety nor in such depth.
Scottish ruins where my friend and I slept and dreamt of things dark and dangerous.