This St. Pat's day is bittersweet.This was my Dad's holiday.
My Dad was very proud of his true Irish heritage. Our family is one of the ones that really was from Ireland, not just claimed to be Irish on St. Pat's. To Dad, it was a bigger day than Christmas. When he was still in the work force, he would take off not only St. Pat's day, but also the day after… to recouperate. He spent the day celebrating in a small local Irish bar that surely quadripled its size on St. Pat's by putting tents out in the parking lot and having several extra serving areas.
One of my favorite memories of St. Patrick's Day and my dad was about 28 years ago when I was very pregnant with my youngest daughter. My in-laws had been invited to have supper with my parents, but I'm not sure my father remembered when he extended the invitation that it was on St. Pat's… and that they were German and Norwegian.
Dad was tall. 6'5" tall. When he didn't show up at home (and back before the day of cell-phones), my Hubs and I were sent to find him and bring him home. We walked in the front of the bar and could see his head sticking up above the crowd near the back of the bar. Unfortunately, he saw us as well. Just like a little kid, he turned and walked the other way, parting the crowd as he fled out the back door. By the time we got to the back of the bar (me trying to get through a wall-to-wall crowd with my large tummy), thinking we'd find him standing outside waiting for us, we were surprised to find no sign of him. Tucking back into the back of the bar, we spy my dad… near the front! It became clear… he was avoiding us.
Just like rounding up a truant kid, we split up and finally cornered him… and we eventually convinced him to come with us. It wasn't without a fight, tho'! He loved the crowds, the drink, the music, the whole thing. He didn't want his fun to end.
My Dad always wanted to go to Ireland. He wanted to go see where his family came from in County Cork. He wanted to submurge himself. He never went. Someday I hope to go to Ireland and take my Dad… spreading his ashes in the land he loved so much.