In 2004, I had a once in a lifetime opportunity to spend three weeks in Ireland! It was my first trip to Europe and I was over the moon with excitement and anticipation! I went with two friends, both of whom had been to Ireland several times, so I knew I was in good hands. My friends gave me all sorts of advice before leaving and one even made me take several outfits and several pairs of shoes out of my too-large suitcase.
We rented a car and drove from tip to tip, staying in B&Bs along the way. Knowing that one of my friends would do most of the driving and the other one was great with navigation, I was a little anxious about what my role could be. I wanted to contribute in some way so that they would be happy they invited me. Finally I decided that I would have to settle for being positive, pleasant and accommodating. I could provide the fun! Little did I know what that would entail…
We spent our first day in Ireland on a large dairy farm, visiting with a farmer that my friends met on a previous trip. We walked for hours on his gorgeous land, carefully stepping over mud puddles and cow patties. The scenery was breathtaking! Never had I see such green pastures or such beautiful cattle. He even had a little beach on his land, full of wonderful and interesting stones.
At some point in our walk, we made it from the open pasture to a narrow path. It was becoming increasingly difficult to stay out of the puddles and to avoid the cow patties. My shoe actually broke and I was dragging it along after me to protect my foot. The closer we got to the barn, the more treacherous our path became.
We were walking on the very edge of the path to avoid the deep mud when I lost my footing! My fleeting thought as I was falling was that my feet would be covered in mud. Imagine my shock and horror when I sank to my thighs and realized that I was standing in a slurry pit! Fortunately, as I tumbled, one arm reached out to break my fall, and when I righted myself, my left arm and both legs were covered in cow manure!
After what seemed like endless laughter and pictures, I asked my friend to help me out of the pit. Her instant reply was, “I’m not touching you.” Thank goodness I had one clean hand or I’d probably still be there. The “sucking action” reminded me of what quicksand must feel like!
The only one who didn’t think it was hysterically funny was the farmer. He helped me hose off and even loaned me a pair of his jeans to wear back to the hotel. When we asked if he would tell his pub friends that night about the crazy Americans, he replied in his Irish brogue, “No, they wouldn’t believe it. Even the cows know better!”