It’s hard to believe it’s already August as it seems we were just celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. Before we know it, we’ll be talking about clam bakes and frozen precipitation hurling itself from dark clouds rolling off Lake Erie (I refuse to utter the word s_*w).

Speaking of clouds and St. Patrick – as I sit writing this, I’m looking out the window of a farmhouse set on the edge of Clew Bay, on the west coast of Ireland. Just across the water and jutting itself high into the clouds is one of Ireland’s most famous mountains, Crough Patrick. In just a few hours, my wife, four daughters, and I will make our way around roads both narrow and narrower, in a car on the opposite side of the road, to attempt to scale to the 2,500 ft. peak. Legend and/or history books say that St. Patrick spent forty days somewhere high on the mountain, praying and fasting. I’m just praying I don’t have to carry my seven-year-old for more than a third of the climb.

This trip is one of a lifetime, and I am so grateful for those holding down the fort, both at my place of full-time employment and at the City of Kirtland. Thus far into our journey, we’ve not been disappointed by a thing. The beauty of the landscape is indescribable, and the people of this country are especially welcoming. Perhaps what I’ve noticed most is the fact that nearly everyone we pass on the sidewalks nods and says hello. It is also more than common to see locals stopping and taking the time to greet and speak to one another. It is refreshing to see a pace that is not so hurried and distracted by the daily hustle we in the U.S. seem to find ourselves.

I realize this article is not directly related to city business and without further explanation could seem a bit gratuitous. But as I sat this morning and considered how to avoid writer’s block on this side of the Atlantic, it dawned on me how some of what I see here in Ireland has flashes and similarities of what is common in Kirtland. Of course, I’m not suggesting parallels in topography and certainly not the architecture, but in Kirtland, I witness plenty of good will, community spirit, and kindness.

Whether it be in Mike’s Market, Just One More, or Tavern Six, or in and around the High School football stadium, the Strawberry Festival, or at the library’s gazebo concerts. Time and time again, I witness folks truly happy to see and be with one another. I see community projects, PTA fundraising, and astounding comradery at the Senior Center. In Kirtland, we have churches working together in common efforts to assist residents in need.

As much as I love where our vacation adventures have taken us, I know at home in Kirtland, I’ll return to some of the same kinship and a spirit of decency. In next month’s submission to the Chronicle, I promise to get back to reporting on the happenings and business of Kirtland.