Unless you've been living under a rock, you know today is St. Patrick's Day. Green dye will be thrown in various streams all over the country and green beer will flow like tap water. Ninety percent of the population will claim to be Irish and will sport green on some portion of their body, more than likely with the slogan "Kiss me, I'm Irish". Most cities will have a parade and the day will be a long one. I've noticed when Scandanavian Days come to our part of the county I don't find everyone clamoring for lutefisk!
My family actually is Irish. Cork county, to be specific. Catholic? No. Drunkards? Yes. What can I say? We give the Irish a bad name.
When I was growing up St. Pat's day was my father's favorite holiday, hands down beating Thanksgiving or Christmas. He would take the day off work if it occured on a work day and would take the following day off, too, to recover. His best friend is also Irish and they could out drink a fish.
Once, when I was pregnant with my third, we had planned on having a nice family dinner on St. Pat's. In hindsight, a big mistake. We were going to get the parents together – my husbands' and mine. At that point they hadn't met yet. Everyone was at my mothers' house… except the elusive Irishman. He was still at the local Irish bar where he claimed he would leave and be home in time for dinner. After waiting quite awhile, my mom sent Hubs and I to the bar to find him. He's not hard to find. He's 6'5" tall and towers above most people in any crowd. This was no exception. Wall-to-wall people were crammed into this tiny bar and overflowing into the parking lot where they had a tent set up. We spotted my dad near the back of the bar. Unfortunately, he spotted us, too, and just like a little kid he started running (okay, walking) the other way! I'm seven months pregnant, big as a house already, and trying to squirm in-between people to follow my dad. Finally when we reached the back of the bar we realized he'd escaped… outside… and back in the front! Needless to say, we split up and finally caught up with him. He wasn't very happy to have to go home and play host.
Over the years this scene would repeat itself, but we learned not to plan anything for St. Patrick's day… it wasn't worth the hassle.
St. Pat's has changed for me. My dad has gotten to the category of "elderly" and is suffering from depression. He rarely leaves the house. We don't encourage his drinking because, ironically enough, St. Pat's was the only time he wasn't a mean drunk. Celebrating for him has become a thing of the past. Here I sit, not wearing a stitch of green. I don't think I even own anything green. I'm diabetic so don't drink. My Norwegian husband doesn't like corned beef, so there will be no traditional corned beef and cabbage (which I happen to love). There was some snow overnight and rain expected to dampen the parade… and I'm feeling about as glum as the weather. It just doesn't seem like St. Pat's to me.
Someday I'd like to go to Ireland. It's the only place outside of the U.S. that I'd really like to see. Maybe then I'd get my Irish back.