As an American Irishman, or Irishwoman, I would be remiss if I didn't take a moment to wish my friends a Happy Saint Patrick's Day!
I'm sure for the International readers, they must scoff at this Holiest of Holy days that we celebrate here in the U, S, of A. But we take our wearing of the green quite seriously. So much so, that even my daughters school is closed for the day.
It's a big deal for us. We plan for this day weeks, if not months, in advance. New green garb is chosen and embroidered, laid out and ready to jump into early on the day.
Christmas has traditionally the busiest of all calender holidays for scheduling. Traveling from one house to another to make sure to stop at each relatives open house and wish them good cheer. Overeating and being over served at each stop. Saint Patrick's day of late has challenged that Numero Uno spot. Or Uimhir a Haon. It now starts early in the day with breakfasts of soda bread and green eggs to late in the evening when the last morsel of corned beef has disappeared from the serving platter. Not to mention the Guinness is gone.
The greatest challenge is to pace the beverage and food consumption. Each stop plying you with yet another sandwich, another bowl of stew, another plate of pickled beef. And more drinks to wash it all down with. Go figure.
It's like training for a marathon. An enjoyable marathon, but some years just about as taxing.
Many years ago I remember a Saint Patrick's Day when already having had more than our fill downtown at the parade, we stopped at several watering holes along the way back to our home. We couldn't help it. With their doors open wide to the spring air, the sounds of merriment spilling into the street drawing you in like a moth to flame. Or a horse to water. Or a Irishman to beer. I was a newlywed this particular year complete with a new Irish last name. I met one of my husbands acquaintances who also had the same surname as my newly own.
As you can imagine by this point in the days festivities, everyone was quite jovial. A few more than others. Johnny was (and still is!) a delightful man. He's a gentleman that gives the saying, 'a glint in his eye' meaning. We were having a grand old time, singing along to the band when Johnny leaned in close and told me, "Darlin'...divorce him and marry me. You'll not have to even change the spelling on your drivers license."
He also shared with me that day that being the true Irishman he was, he said, "I may not be big (as in well endowed) so I can't go deep, but I sure can beat the hell out of the sides."
We've been friends ever since.
Anyone that can share intimate details not highlighting their best features, even if they've overindulged on the day o' drink, is alright with me.
Our Saint Patrick's Days lately have been a little more family oriented. But even so, we have a great time. I'll leave the pursuit of being over served to those that don't have the burden of responsibilities like I do. I've learned that I'm grown up enough to know 'when is when'. My head and body just don't bounce back as fast or easily as it used to. And although I'm in denial of nearing middle age, I don't need to add any more stress than I already endure to my aging frame.
I still might tip one or two out of tradition. A friend just dropped off a wonderful smelling soda bread and I'm slicing the corned beef. The Harp is in the fridge and the lilt of Irish music is playing on my speakers. The sun is shining and it's a chilly but gorgeous day up here on the North Coast. The parade was nice, my nap even better and now it's off to the next installment of green day fun.
I raise my glass to you!
...or Cheers in english speak. Happy Saint Patrick's Day, my friends!
And please. No more cabbage for me. I think that hurts me worse than the Guinness.
Footnote: The day was survived with fun had by all! And the pot of gold for me was that I needed no aspirin this morning. Bhi sé go hiontach! (It was great!)