Our family must need lots of practice before we get it right. I say this because I was fifty years old when my son was born and my great grandfather was seventy three when my grandmother, Ann Partridge Butler was born in 1883.

The fact that her father could tell her first hand about his experiences in the time of Napoleon was always fascinating to me and as Gran and I were close, I got to hear second hand. I don’t think a lot of people can say that!

The grand old lady died in the late 70’s in Toronto, where she lived in the care of her son, Sam. Just imagine what she saw during that life: 1883 in Belfast; the invention of the automobile, the airplane; her husband working on building the Titanic; two world wars; a man walking on the face of the moon. Disbelief at hearing about the Wright Brothers must have been enormous – but imagine seeing Neil Armstrong kicking up lunar dust just a few decades later!

Anybody who lives into their nineties is going to see quantum leaps in technology. I used a slide rule at fourteen; my son has never seen a slide rule. His generation is the first grade at his school to be exclusively electronic; no textbooks; all communications through a special web site. I defy anyone of my generation to win a video game against a fourteen-year-old.

What will his grandchildren consider normal? He will most likely do what every grandfather does: “Sara, your music today is terrible. What happened to the good old rap I used to listen to? Those guys had talent – real talent – not like today. I remember when the i-pad came out, Sara…… Wait a minute, am I talking to my granddaughter Sara or her hologram?”

In any event, I hope my great, great grandkids will enjoy the ‘boxty’ recipe we pass down from Ann Partridge Butler. That is, if they still have potatoes in the future!

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