What St. Pat’s Means to Me

I can draw a shamrock freehand; ‘started this rare talent as a kid, doodling on my PeeCee.  I even developed it into a cartoon character.  That, and two bucks, might get me a cup of coffee.

I’m English, with a little Hawaiian for spice.  There is no conscionable reason I should celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.  But I do.

I was in grade school during the 60s.  While the world was in turmoil, American children still had a naïve existence and elementary schools were still cheery, colorful, and celebratory.  On St. Patrick’s Day everybody wore green—the sole reason being not to get pinched.  Back then I did not have any faith, but even us “un-churched” kids knew St. Patrick’s Day was one of those occasions when you knew there was some kind of difference between Catholics and Protestants. I think the teachers actually talked about it.

As a teen I was a square dancer, so it was time for pizza and the green calico.  As a young adult, St. Pat’s meant joining my coworkers for lunch and the restaurant’s annual offering of green beer.  Later, once we started our family, it was great fun to chase the little girls with a pinch because their pink PJ’s didn’t have the legal minimum of green.  Over the homeschool years, we’d choke down as much as we could of the Green Kool-Aid and Jell-O.

Years ago I started a tradition, and we’ve kept it every March 17th:  a dinner of corned beef, cabbage, new potatoes, and homemade bread; followed by the classic movie starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara, “The Quiet Man”.

And no, no more green beer.  And no more green Kool-Aid!  This year we’re having white grape juice.

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