Thursday, March 17, 2005

As Irish as Patty's Pig

Always remember to forget
The things that made you sad.
But never forget to remember
The things that made you glad.

Always remember to forget
The friends that proved untrue.
But never forget to remember
Those that have stuck by you;

Always remember to forget
The troubles that passed away.
But never forget to remember
The blessings that come each day.

-
Traditional Irish Blessing

When I was young my mother would occasionally tell me that I reminded her lot of my father. I’m not sure what brought those reminders on. It could have been my stubborn nature. It might even have been the lilt of my laughter or my gift of “gab.” I don’t really know, but when those times came she always reminded me that I was, like my father, “as Irish as Patty’s pig.”

In the years since those reminders the only thing I’ve ever been able to deduce is that she was saying that I was thoroughly Irish, or, if you will, Irish to the bone, to the core. I have no idea who Patty’s pig was (or is) and feel confident enough to assume that the poor porker has long since been devoured, more than likely washed down with a pint or two of Guinness. But I do know that I am, proudly, Irish.

In a little while about five or six pickup trucks decked out in Kelley green will make their way down Commercial Street here in Emporia, Kansas. This day is a reminder that Dublin isn’t really very far at all from the Kansas Flint Hills. In fact it’s close enough that the brewers of Ireland’s national beverage have a plan to draw us even closer together:

“America’s thirst for a more direct link to Irish culture is soon to be satisfied: the brewers of GUINNESS® Draught have been approved to build a bridge between the two nations.” ”The GUINNESS® Public Works Project is expected to improve the flow of good times, enhance America’s quality of celebration, increase international camaraderie, and add more color to daily conversations – especially during the St. Patrick’s Day Holiday Season.” ”Parties on both sides are in agreement that the GUINNESS® Public Works Project is the best route to creating a more profound and meaningful connection. Even the airline industry – which lobbied fiercely against the bridge fearing loss of revenue – is having second thoughts about the bridge after discussions over a pint of GUINNESS® Draught.”

It’s all hyperbole, of course, but that’s one of the things that makes this day special. I’ve heard it said that when God created the world He made the Irishman last because He realized after all His hard work that everyone needed a good laugh, a bit of blarney.

Yes, I’m as Irish as Patty’s pig, and sometimes it gets in my way. I remember a trip Nancy and I took to London a few years back. We spent part of one of our mornings there at the Tower of London, the site of various and sundry beheadings throughout the history of the United Kingdom, and, of course, the British Crown Jewels. On our tour of this national treasure I was standing behind Nancy, muttering under my breath, “They never could create their own wealth; they just stole it from everyone else and warehoused it.” Nancy, who was trying to enjoy the exhibit, looked back at me with one of those very exasperated looks. “Stifle it, wouldya’, Slick. This is supposed to be a vacation, not a political convention.”

I had clearly forgotten the old Irish proverb:

“May you have hindsight to know where you’ve been,
The foresight to know where you’re going,
And the insight to know when you’re going too far!”

I’ve just found out that Emporia held its Saint Patrick’s Day celebration this past Saturday. The Kelley green floats, like three ships in the night, have passed me by. So today, unlike that day in London, I won’t go too far. I’ll have to settle for second best and spend a few minutes watching Kansas City’s celebration on TV. Even though it’s not the same thing as “being there,” I’ll still whoop and holler as the floats pass by. Then I’ll share a good meal of corned beef and cabbage and soda bread with Nancy. She claims to be Swiss, but judging by the skill with which she makes the meal I know that she’s really Irish at heart.

But then, on this day, isn’t everyone Irish?

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day, fellow Irishmen!

2 comments:

Jimmy O'baxter said...

Aye, lad. Good boy, Dillon! Here's to you and yours! A g'day!!!

Feeble Knees said...

A very happy St. Paddy's to you too my Irish brother!

Feeble O'Knees