Monday, March 17, 2008
Happy St. Paddy's Day To All
I'm part Irish by heritage, but of the Northern, Protestant, "Orange", variety. When I was growing up in Pittsburgh, my mother and grandmother always insisted we should wear orange on St. Patrick's Day. Then we moved to Southern California and I quickly discovered that not wearing green on March 17th meant complete strangers would pinch you. I rarely made that mistake again.
I believe it was Sheridan who said Ireland was "the land of happy wars and sad love songs" and one of the things I love best about Ireland is the music. Not the Riverdance type so much as the pub music, especially the drinking songs and the rebel songs. I've long been a fan of the Irish Rovers, and The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem. Before I could legally imbibe, I enjoyed songs like "The Moonshiner" and "Whiskey, You're The Devil". Irish folk songs are, by turn, lyrical, raucous, comical, tragic or irreverent.
No one with my romantic tendencies could resist songs about a glorious lost cause like the United Irish uprising of 1798 that attempted to unite Catholic and Protestant Irishmen to throw off the yoke of England. I'm happy so many of the recordings have been transferred to CD so I can still listen to them, whenever I feel the urge.
I do have one pet peeve though. I cringe every time I walk into a restaurant a see a sign advertising the "St. Patty's" specials. Patty is short for Patricia. The proper diminutive for Patrick is Paddy, a name once used pejoratively for Irishmen. Now there may be a St. Patricia, and she may have her own special day, I wouldn't know. But in the meantime, please stop emasculating St. Patrick!
On St. Paddy's Day,
My wish for you
Is a large bowl
Of Irish stew,
And a pint or two
Of your favorite brew.
What do you like (or not like) about St. Patrick's Day? Do you eat corned beef and cabbage, drink a pint of Guinness and pinch anyone not wearing green? In any case, have a happy St. Paddy's Day!
Some favorite quotes:
"Ireland, sir, for good or evil, is like no other place under heaven, and no man can touch its sod or breathe its air without becoming better or worse." - George Bernard Shaw
"This is one race of people for whom psychoanalysis is of no use whatsoever." - Sigmund Freud (speaking about the Irish)