Migrated from eDJGroupInc.com. Author: Kevin Esposito. Published: 2011-03-17 12:50:25Format, images and links may no longer function correctly. According to Wikipedia, a seanchaí is a traditional Irish storyteller/historian. A commonly encountered English spelling of the Irish word is shanachie. All lawyers need to be able to tell stories to convey facts and explain concepts.  They do this for judges, to juries and occasionally among clients.  For such a task, there’s no better preparation than kissing the Blarney Stone.

Recent history has told tales of men that whose early life experiences uniquely suited them for challenges they were to face in the future.  We know the stories of the pilot whose glider training helped him to bring in the crippled aircraft or the firefighter that just happened to be an expert at rapelling whose skills aided during a scaffolding collapse.  One never knows just which life experience might be of assistance further down the road.

Over 40 years ago the decision was made on one fateful St. Patrick’s Day to take the children to Ireland for a visit.  Preparations were made for a Summer Holiday and eventually the family found themselves in County Cork.  One fine August day was special, however, because it was young Kevin’s tenth birthday – an auspicious occasion to be sure.

Everyone made their way to Blarney Castle to see the grand fortress and lovely gardens.  Something called out to the only boy on the trip, however, the area high above the ground where the Blarney Stone was found.  As the family made their way along, local guide Tommy Murray surveyed the group and settled his gaze on the small boy with reddish hair and hazel eyes.  “This lad’s got an appointment to keep,” he said and up the stone castle stairs they went.

At the top of the castle, the boy was lowered down by his feet, his hands gripping the iron railings for dear life.  He was told, “Go on now, kiss it” and he reached up, kissed the stone and immediately saw stars.  This was because the impatient adults had brought him back up abruptly, smacking his head on the other stones that lined the Blarney Stone chamber.

As all of the people that had kissed The Stone made their way downstairs again, many of the adults waxed poetic about the kissing adventure.  They went on and on and suddenly there was a change in the smallest amongst them.  As was recounted later, “There was a twinging in ‘is fingers and an itching in ‘is toes – a twinkling in his eyes and a twitching of ‘is nose”.  Before anyone knew what was happening the small boy spoke in a loud and exasperated voice.

“Stone?? Stone??? What stone?? A boulder more likely – Aye there was a whacking great thing there.  Just look at me tooth….I think I chipped me tooth…”. At that, Tommy Murray’s great paw clamped over the boy’s mouth.  At first there was stunned silence and then someone at the back of the crowd yelled, “The boy’s kissed the Blarney Stone all right!” and a great cheer went up as they all trundled off to the local pub for lunch.

There Tommy placed the boy on the bar and fixed him with a steely gaze.  “It’s a gift you’re given today lad.  Don’t use it in anger and never in spite or hate, but always in defense of those that need defendin’ or those that can’t speak for themselves. You’re a quiet cub no longer, boyo. You’ve been given your mighty roar”. The boy nodded slightly, not really understanding the importance of what had happened that day.

As the party reveled in the celebrations of a lovely outing and at least one birthday, the barmaid Coleen asked the child of the hour, “So Kevin, what might be your family name?”  “Esposito!” was the proud reply – which promptly brought the revelry to a halt.  An eerie silence descended on the pub.  No longer was he the favored child.  He was now something strange – a changeling perhaps, left by the leprechauns to taunt the locals.  “How….But how could this be?” she stammered.

The boy was panic stricken at first – looking out at the assembled crowd, seeing them all staring and waiting for his next words.  At that point it happened again – the itching and the twitching.  Slowly and with a twinkle in his eye he motioned them all closer, acting all confidential-like. He dropped his voice to a mere whisper.  “Well you see….” he began conspiratorially “that’s a long story…” and then loudly with a wink, “but me throat’s a bit parched!”.

“Glory be!”, Colleen yelled. “The Blarney’s working already to be sure”. The crowd erupted in laughter and cheers once again.  A beverage was placed beside the boy. Colleen frowned when she saw it and said, “Ned…you don’t use the good brains God gave you.  A yard of ale, is it?  He’s only a boy of ten…get him a pint of Guinness” thereby beginning a partnership that lasts to this day.

The boy would grow and go to school.  People would wonder at his ability to speak to rooms of people on almost any subject, never figuring out his secret – his unfair advantage.  Over the years to come, there would be debate teams, speechwriting groups and eventually moot court. No one was surprised when he went on to become a lawyer, using the gift of the spoken word  for something more than just telling stories.  Recalling to mind the warnings of Tommy Murray, the boy would look for opportunities in free clinics and in support of non-profit organizations to speak for those who  could not speak for themselves. In short, he had a responsibility to see that The Gift would not be wasted.

So each St. Patrick’s Day a pint of Guinness is raised to commemorate the day that set a small boy on the path to that fateful Stone and the potential for being a true shanachie –  a storyteller.   He encourages others to visit Ireland and to drink in both its history and its magic. He encourages families to learn more about many countries, since the knowledge of the laws and customs of many different countries has made all the difference in his career.

And how successfully did that little boy eventually manage to combine The Gift with The Law?

“Well…”, as he might say,“that would be a very long story”.  Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all.

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