Thursday, March 16, 2006

Happy St. Patrick's Day

I like the Irish because we share a heritage. My ancestry is Polish. The Poles and the Irish both have a fondness for the potato, the Catholic church, music and drink. And fun too. In my hometown of Bay City, where there is a large Polish enclave, the biggest yearly celebration is the St. Patrick's Day parade.

Before the parade, there is a long distance run through the streets. I "ran" the 8K race once. My sons have both run too. In my scrapbook, I have my shamrock medal, won for finishing the race. Never mind that most of the other runners had already showered and begun training for the next run by the time I had crossed the finish line. It was still daylight. That's all that counted.

We have celebrated St. Patrick's Day in other ways too. A couple years ago my wife and I saw the Irish Rovers in concert. Last year, we saw the Riverdancers. This year we're going to a Sunday brunch at The Common Grill in nearby Chelsea, which features musicians playing Irish tunes.

Many years ago we vacationed near Washington DC, making a side trip to an Irish pub in Alexandria, Virginia. A couple musicians went up on stage while we were eating our dinner, so we stayed a bit for the music. A guitar player opened with a sentimental ballad about an Irish emigre recalling his grandfather back home. But soon the band started in with the Irish drinking songs

The crowd became somewhat raucous, no one more so than my ten-year-old son Scott who was banging his soda mug on the table in time with the music. That was our cue to leave.

There's a seductive way about the Irish.

Take one of my favorite movies, Waking Ned Devine, a deliciously subversive tale of wretchedness and depravity masquerading as Irish fun. An elderly Irishman hatches a plot to defraud the government out of a lottery prize. The townsfolk are all willing co-conspirators. The deal is sealed with shots of whiskey, then the locals all gather at the tavern to celebrate their ill-gotten gains.

In the movie, a young boy--nobody is quite sure who the father is--smokes and drinks whiskey. When a visiting priest has his doubts as to the plot, the boy re-assures him that if the lottery winnings will fill the collection plate, the pastor will be "over the moon" when he returns from vacation.

The first St. Patrick's Day celebration happened on March 17, 1737, in a small Boston pub. A group of 26 Irishmen gathered for a pint or two, toasted the king and established the Charitable Irish Society.

Today, at 7 a.m., number one son Greg says he is going to continue the tradition, showing up at a local pub to make his own toast, the first of many, he says. That's a little too much tradition for me. I think I'll just have some corned beef on my omelet.


Blogger Peter said...

Nothing beats a good old Irish drinking song.

4:56 AM  
Blogger bornfool said...

I think I'll drink some beer and watch the NCAA tournament. Of course, that's what I would have done, holiday or not.

8:09 AM  
Anonymous kristy said...

Good on you for keeping the St. Patrick's Day faith! I have to go work at the Monkey Car Club, but at least I've got my green sweater. We went to an Irish Pub on Wednesday as our official celebration, but they were out of corned beef! What's the world coming to...?

10:35 AM  
Blogger Deb said...

Wow! You finished an 8K? My hat is off to you. I do well to finish a 3K. Sounds like you have fun on Saint Patty's Day.

BTw, on the last comment I left, I meant you've very witty and intelligent, not a nerd. I had a rum-soaked college student trying to read over my shoulder at the time.

11:19 AM  
Anonymous bonnie said...

Bay City born and bred and you didn't mention Madonna?!

I love the color green, but we Spartans take care not to drink too much beer. It brings on a mysterious urge to burn couches.

Have a good Irish/Polish celebration today!

1:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dave,s Dad here,yes, yes, I seen it you made it past 16

4:06 PM  
Blogger Lucy Stern said...

Well, I didn't wear green at all today. I don't look that good in green so I have few if any green clothes.

I did cook cabbage to go with dinner tonight. I decided not to try corned beef, because every time I cook it, it's tough. I cooked a London Broil instead and it was awesome.

Hope you had a great day.

9:21 PM  
Blogger poopie said...

I had some corned beef for lunch, and multiple beers at the pub last night. No Irish drinking songs though. The bartender DID have shamrocks on her head ;)

7:20 AM  
Blogger 4evergapeach said...

I wonder if he was at the same pub that I was at 7:00 a.m.? Drinking green beer. It was the first stop of a few that day.

I'm a tad bit old fashioned, I stuck with fish for Friday and doing my Irish shepherds pie today. I don't think St. Patrick will mind ;)

8:26 AM  
Blogger chesneygirl said...

I didn't know Bay City had a St. Patrick's day parade.

There was a time when I showed up for the 7am toast...but this year, like you, I just celebrated a good ole Corned beef and cabbage dinner!

4:10 PM  
Blogger WordWhiz said...

And I bet you like cabbage with that corned beef! Polish and cabbage sort of go hand-in-hand, don't they?

Paul is Polish too - Polish Catholic.

9:36 AM  
Blogger OldHorsetailSnake said...

Very wise move, Dave, except, of course, for the corned beef and the omelet.

2:03 PM  
Blogger schnoodlepooh said...

My family is from Yugoslavia! Also potato people. Now they live in Idaho - potato capital of the US! Long live potatoes!

5:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


1:08 AM  

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