Christmas in Killarney

Wandering back through the musty old files of my inbox, I found an essay I wrote back in Spring 2009 when I was applying to MBA programs. I can’t recall which application it was written for, or whether or not it was submitted. The application process broke off nearing the end of it when I realized as much as I wanted to further my education, a Masters in Business was not exactly what I was looking for.

Here is an excerpt from that essay:

All across the town, shops were closing their doors, and pubs were kicking out their customers (had last call). It was Christmas Eve 2004 in Killarney, Ireland, and all the natives were running for cover just before dinnertime. Forecasters had announced that for the first time in two decades Killarney could expect a white Christmas. My family trudged back along the empty streets to the our rented cottage where we cooked spaghetti noodles, made paper chains, and laughed at the forecast. Our spirits were not dampened by the unusual celebration. We had pushed aside many of our holiday traditions to come to Ireland to celebrate in the place our ancestors had lived. There was only one tradition we planned to keep this year: the telling of The Night Before Christmas. Every Christmas Eve we would all crowd around my father who read from the book my parents bought the year they married and listen as he told the story we all knew by heart. Rather, the story we thought we knew by heart for it was the first, and only, year the book had been forgotten. With it sitting in an empty house in Green Bay, Wisconsin, we cast aside our paper chains and took on the task of rewriting everything we could remember of the poem. When my father read it to us late that evening, he was reading the combined efforts of every last one of us. The tradition is less about Christmas and more about celebrating our love as a family. The fact that we, the children, were no longer little ones hoping for Santa but teenagers only made it more special. Even today, that Christmas is considered the best one yet.

The essay went on to discuss my family and my values, but that story brought me back. It remains one of my favorite memories to this day.


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