The African adage - 'It takes a village to raise a child' took on a real meaning at the Christmas Meeting of Speakeasy Toastmasters Club.
The "accidental theme" of this meeting was childhood, be it a child's Christmas in Ireland or a child's formative years in Rural Nigeria.
Delivering her 'Ice Breaker' speech, new member, Celine O'Shea presented a frank and fascinating account of her childhood years in her native Nigeria. She eloquently asserted how her ten years growing up in a small village, playing with clay, molded her life and her values. It was a childhood without many of the things that we take for granted - running water, electricity and school books. Despite her many travels to Nigeria's capital city, to Cyprus, London and Ireland, the core of her character was created in that tiny rural village.
|Anne O'Donovan, Mary Buckley, Celine O'Shea & Bridie O' Connell
The Christmas childhood thread continued to be woven in Bobby Buckley's hugely enjoyable speech - '' The Bay Window Christmas Tree". It was a tale of vanity in 1950's Mallow and his mother keeping up appearances by fitting a Bay Window to the family home in The Spa. But a window of such dimensions requires an equally imposing Christmas Tree! It fell to Bobby to rescue the situation and restore domestic harmony, following his father's futile attempt. This speech evoked nostalgia for a Mallow long since vanished, with it's references to the Beet Factory, O'Flynn Stores and Ardleys Bicycle Shop.
Mary Moynihan presented a beautifully evocative interpretation of Patrick Kavanagh's - "A Christmas Childhood". This popular poem is filled with beautiful imagery of a rustic Christmas. "The music of milking" and "One side of the potato pit was white with frost" are just two of word pictures that the poet painted in this wonderful poem.
Finally, Don McSweeney told his tale - "My life as an elf". Set in his childhood years in the the town of Castleisland, Don held a very important role in his family's Toy Shop. He served as elf and toy advisor. His "job" began in February when the toy companies held their trade exhibitions. This was a time when parents placed deposits on Christmas Toys before they made the big purchase. Don had a busy time in the packaging department and spent very little time on the shelf!
Toastmaster or Chairperson of the Meeting was Liam Flynn of Millstreet. Now celebrating what he describes as "eleven great years in Speakeasy", Liam set the tone for the Meeting and introduced each speaker with aplomb.
Topicsmaster was Verna Byrne. In stark contrast to Liam, Verna is in Speakeasy for a short twelve months. She presented a varied selection box of topics - ranging from Seasonal subjects like "Your favourite Christmas song". Songs like "Fairytale of New York," "Merry Christmas Everybody" and Joni Mitchell's "River" were popular choices. A topic that provoked a great response was "How old would you be if you didn't know how old you were?"
At the meeting's conclusion, Bridie O'Connell, in her role as General Evaluator presented awards to Mary Buckley, Best Evaluation ; Kieran Butler, Best Topic ;Bobby Buckley, Best Speaker.
Speakeasy Toastmasters Club will take a little break for Christmas but will return in the New Year. As we ponder our resolutions for 2018, why not consider learning a new and valuable skill. Speakeasy Toastmasters is dedicated to helping it's members develop their communication skills in a relaxed, friendly environment. We look forward to seeing you in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow at 8.00PM on Thursday, 11th January.
In the meantime, from all in Speakeasy we wish you a peaceful and happy Christmas.
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