Beer, Cattle, and Midwives: The Brigid Ryan Story

Brigid's Well

When the following tale was shared with members of our “passenger log” (e-mail subscribers), it received a lot of attention. If you missed the account of the naming of our daughter born last month here is the Brigid Ryan story, “unabridged”…

For a moment a thought arrested me: “I’ll be delivering our second-born at home!” A sobering thought for an already sober person (I’d forfeited the pleasures of beer during Lent–with certain exceptions, of course; the celebratory beer stood by the ready). When the midwife did arrive, I relaxed a little–even as many of you are now getting tense (“Hey, buddy, too much information.”). Be rest assured: I would not have shared this if it wasn’t a crucial part of the story…

Now, so certain that she would be a he, we had no name when, on the evening of March 2, our daughter was born in the evening twilight. It took us seven days to settle on her name in a process that was every bit as tedious, nay dramatic, as the selection of the grand jury for the trial of the century. After all, the appellation will be following her–God-willing–for the next 100 years, provided–of course–she’s got the Duba Family genes: Rose Duba lived to be 99 and, considering our daughter is knit together entirely of heritage beef, I think adding one more year is really quite conservative, don’t you?

But, oh, those seven days! How our minds careened as we scoured sites like BellyBallot and skimmed–frantically–through books filled with thousands of human signifiers. Breakfasts were burned discoursing over the philosophies of naming. So desperate was I getting, in fact, that I even contemplated inventing a name. Victor Hugo did it in Les Miserables (“Cosette”). And so did Gwyneth Paltrow (“Apple”). And George Costanza (“Seven”). Lists we compiled by my wife and me. We both enjoyed the executive veto, striking names at will from each others’ lists. Like March Madness–as this most assuredly was–our list went from 16 on Thursday, to eight on Friday, and four on Saturday until were were finally down to two on Sunday…

Just before sitting down to a dinner of Scottish corned beef, my wife put the ball in my court. “You choose,” she said…

“Her name is Brigid Ryan.”

Here’s the kicker. It wasn’t until the week after christening her “Brigid” that I learned that St. Brigid is the patroness of beer, cattle, and midwives. Folks, was happened on Sunday, March 8, is the equivalent of nailing a 3-point shot from center court, blindfolded.

Epilogue
And if you want to know where the name “Ryan” comes from, the story is no less dramatic. It involves a young man my wife got to know over the years, a young man who passed away on March 7, 2014. On the one-year anniversary of that day, his parents’ gave us their blessing to pass that namesake on to Brigid. Ryan’s story has been covered by ESPN, but by far my favorite telling comes from a local station, WOOD TV 8. And you can watch that story below (but you’ll want to grab a box of tissues first).

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