The Nightmare Before St. Patrick’s Day

I am Irish by marriage, meaning I have a husband with red cheeks and an Irish last name. McSomething...but not the Donald. Which makes me an Austrian-Italian-American-Irish Mut.

So today this Austrian lady is cooking Irish food -again. Guinness was used as stock for the corned beef which is simmering on our stove for hours.

How much fun St. Patrick’s Day would be if green wouldn’t be my last favorite color in the color palette? Green is the color of trees and fields and I love nature, so why don’t I want to wear its color, or paint my walls the same? Well, I don’t. I don’t owe anything green but someone gave me a green plastic Mardi Grass necklace that I wear only today -on St. Patrick’s Day.

My first St. Patrick’s Day came toward me with no warning. You see, people never talk about their routines on special days, they just do what feels normal. That day so long ago I saw a new side of my new husband. If you are in love, and new to the land, the habits, and rituals, you have two choices, you swim or you drown -preferably in beer that tastes like oatmeal.

Sometimes in the early 80s poor little me got a rude awakening about what having an Irish last name actually meant. It’s not just a day to acknowledge the heritage by eating Irish Stew or Corned Beef, no, it’s a day of freezing, singing, dancing, and drinking, which starts right about noon.

The St. Patrick’s Day parade my husband insisted we had to go to, didn’t sound like much fun at first. The temperatures outside were around freezing and standing on the sidewalk for hours, waving at strangers, didn’t seem tempting. Where did all these Irish people come from? They seemed to be everywhere, in every city all across America.

Later on, I learned that 39.6 million Americans list their heritage as primarily or partially Irish, compared to 6.3 million people in Ireland. Now wonder St. Patrick’s Day is huge here in the US.

I enjoyed getting to know this special day that we would from now celebrate every year.

And how could I not get into it, when I saw all the red-cheeked men and women drinking green beer and eating green scones and cookies. Irish music came from some outdoor speakers, and my almost frozen toes couldn’t help but wiggle a bit.

There is a loyalty between humans, that can’t be explained -and that’s a good thing because no matter how you look at it, it doesn’t make any sense.

Take me for example. No matter if I am in a restaurant or a crowded place, the same rules apply and it always starts the same way. A stranger who notices my accent asks my all-time favorite question. Where are you from?

Depending on my mood, let’s consider my mood is good because it’s an example, I answer truthfully, not smart-assy which I happen to do sometimes. I say politely, “I was born and raised in Austria.”

“That’s what I thought,” is the answer. “My third cousin Hildie, was married to an Austrian (never mind that he was actually German) and before I can stop him or her, we now have something in common and are now friends -kinda.

The Irish friendship works the same way. An Irish name, a green beer, and red cheeks, and everybody who looks the same is your friend -at least for one day. I made many friends that day.

I thought we would go home after the parade but I was wrong. Our new friends dragged us with them, and somehow we ended up in an Irish Pub. It was loud and very crowded. People had fun, the cheeks got redder by the minute.

It was a long night. I got introduced to Yello shots, which seemed to have alcohol in them, but after the third, I didn’t care anymore. Dessert in a shot glass! You can’t beat that.

For the life of me, I don’t recall how we got home but I do remember the next morning, even now after so many years have passed. The headache and the hangover were one of a kind.

When I looked in the mirror my face looked greenish, but perhaps that was just an illusion.

So many great memories!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day from our family to yours!

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18 thoughts on “The Nightmare Before St. Patrick’s Day

  1. The nearest St. Patrick’s day parade is about 45 minutes away and I have unfortunately never made the trip. I have the tiniest bit of Irish blood in me, but still try to do a little something fun on that day even if it is just wearing a green shirt.

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    • He wasn’t Irish, he was british, and the original color for St. Patrick’s Day was blue, not green. However, I think these days the day is used for a celebration of the Irish heritage and as we know, most celebrations ask for cake or something to cheer with, like Champagne or in this case green beer.
      It’s actually a fun day. As for St. Patrick, I am certain he was a myth, I suppose there were never snakes in Ireland to begin with. πŸ™‚

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      • It CAN be a fun day. I had a blast at the parade last Saturday – more fun than green beer or champagne. Not that I have anything against those things, but I think there’s more to being Irish than drinking, and the video didn’t do the Irish justice, IMO. Patrick brought Ireland the best gift of all. Yes, the snakes are a myth, but I doubt St, Patrick was. (Do check out the post, it might bless you.) And a happy belated St, Patrick’s Day. πŸ™‚ ❀

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        • I am agnostic but appreciate the conversations with religious people. As for the Irish, I suppose they are having fun here in the US and for many it’s not about beer and champagne. I myself don’t drink -but use the Guinness for a good stew. πŸ™‚
          As for the British missionary Patrick? He spread the word of the god he believed in and is perhaps to blame for the Christianity in Ireland. πŸ™‚

          Liked by 2 people

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