Eileen Dahill/Minnesota

In the winter of 2009 my brother Sean drove his two sons, Seamus and Connor, and their friend Nolan to Coon Lake Minnesota to ice fish. Coon Lake has a pop-up village of fishing tents and ice houses during the winter. You can even order a pizza to be delivered to your tent or ice house via snowmobile! My nephew Seamus and Nolan are massive. They were such big boys at sixteen years old in 2009. But Connor was small, compact, and the tag-a-long little brother. Seamus and Nolan never seemed to mind because the craic is always with Connor. Everything outdoors is interesting to Connor or he will make it interesting in a short time. He is a bit mischievous like is Irish grandmother. My brother drove off perhaps a bit relieved that on this Saturday night the boys were not going to get into trouble.

My brother Sean had just returned home but immediately got a phone call that a snowmobile had hit the boys ice fishing tent going 50 miles per hour! All they heard was the roar of the engine and then boom! At the last moment the snowmobiler saw the tent and banked his snowmobile but they were still hit. Nolan was okay, my nephew Seamus’s winter jacket went on fire from their propane heater. Seamus put it out and was not burned. But Connor was lying on the ice out cold and not responding. He had been hit TWICE by the snowmobile. Seamus and Nolan knew not to move Connor, they had the wherewithal to call my brother. My brother called an ambulance and off he drove like a madman to Coon Lake. The ambulance arrived only to find out that there were TWO non-responsive bodies. The snowmobiler had passed out too when he saw the small boy unconscious on the frozen lake. He had hit them as his posse of friends were driving across the lake and not paying attention to a tent a bit on the outskirts of the winter ice fishing village that night.

Connor had a concussion but no broken bones. It was a long recovery but here he is back ice fishing the following year.


Connor graduated from high school this year. He never participated in any varsity sport nor did he even go to his big high school party. He is very much like his Irish Grandmother in looks and temperament. He is funny and social but somewhat aloof. The craic is still always with Connor when he enters a room. We will all me laughing in a minute. But we know he’d rather be outside.

Here is Connor getting a big graduation hug from his grandmother, my mom, Ann.