Moss Ellen McHenry is my reason for wearing green.  She’s not my only Irish ancestor, but she’s the closest, my father’s mother.  She was California born of Irish immigrant parents, Patrick McHenry and Kate Coyle, who were married at Santa Barbara mission in 1875.  Their marriage record is in Spanish.  Kate and Patrick gave their other daughters sensible names, Margaret and Kathryn, so I’ve always wondered where “Moss” came from.  She was called “Mossie.”

She was probably solid and sensible like her sisters, my father’s aunts whom I knew as a young person. The name Moss, however, leads me to imagine one with a connection to the fairy people, one who sang and danced and perhaps wrote poetry.  Did any of the little people sneak across the ocean with the immigrants?  Mossie died when my father was young.  Perhaps the fairies couldn’t let her go.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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