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  • Elizabeth Cornwall

The Enlightener of Ireland has become the enlightener of all, celebrated for driving out Ireland's snakes. He's a saint who is embraced by Orthodox Christians, Catholic Christians, Protestants, and Irish whiskey devotees of every confession or non-confession.

I only recently learned how my brother got his name; he was named for an Irish county whose nickname is "the Kingdom" — County Kerry, Ciarrai or Ciarraighe. Ciar in Old Irish which means black or dark brown. My brother Kerry was not from a dark tribe but from the ginger Viking tribe: he was a tall, well-built former Marine, covered with ginger hair, beard and a galaxy of freckles.

He was the middle child of five. He toted the baby brother born after him like a sack of flower, carrying him from room to room as our mother held her breath. He wasn't three years old himself. As he grew, he did things like build rockets in an unused field. He cracked a smile — not much more — at the ensuing fire and fire department sirens.

He was in introvert who read "Popular Mechanics" and "National Geographic." He certainly had a kingdom of the mind where few penetrated. He didn't say much but when he did, you'd remember it. He's the one who told me that I could get pregnant if a boy tickled the bottom of my right foot.

Eventually, he joined the Marines with a stent in Japan. There, he encountered snakes.

Kerry with our grandmother in small town South Carolina, tracking down our Scottish ancestors.

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  • Elizabeth Cornwall

Updated: Mar 17, 2020

I've never been a Vegas girl. I went there once and gambled with $20 and ended up with a tidy sum to buy a high-end purse. Once I made that sum, I went and bought it. I was basically done with Vegas.

But I was making plans to go back, this time to look in enormous sewage drains, in North Las Vegas where the homeless congregate, and all the places that feed this endless tide of lost human potential: the Salvation Army, the Veteran's center, and of course the north Vegas library where the homeless come out from the heat and charge their phones and read and relax. So, I sat with them. I hauled out my embroidery and sat and waited.

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Updated: Mar 17, 2020

When I was in graduate school, I studied medieval and Renaissance Italian history. I was on a daily diet of the Black Plague and wrote about how people coped. Some holed up in their homes, while others took the drink-now-because-we-die-tomorrow approach. Instead, Boccaccio imagined 10 friends retreating into the country where they told compelling stories: the "Decameron."

I have many true tales to tell. I promise I won't mention corona virus and let's see if I keep you entertained

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