St Patrick’s Day – Growing up Green
A world of shamrocks, shillelaghs, Guinness, and Blarney
In second grade, at the St. Patrick’s Day talent show, Dick Riley recited a poem he wrote weaving in the surnames of everyone in our class. He cleverly used all 55 names and finished with a flourish that now seems more James Joyce than eight-year-old boy.
In grammar school I walked to class with the Murphys, the Donovans, and the Sullivans. I ate lunch with two Maureens, two Colleen’s, Mary Kate, Mary Ellen, and Mary Margaret.
On our street we had Burns, Burkes, Brennans, Callaghans, Monaghans, and the Falk families. The milkman was Mr. Walsh and the grocer was Mr. Kelly.
At our high school reunion, 50% of us had become collapsed Catholics. 60% of us were English majors; everybody had memories and memoirs. Mary Elizabeth Moriarty was once a nun, kicked the habit and married an ex- Jesuit. They had one son at Notre Dame and another at Georgetown. Whereas few of us would be called good dancers, many of us knew 12 Steps.
Our heroes include James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, William Butler Yeats, George Bernard Shaw, Samuel Beckett and Seamus Heaney. And, of course, Billy Collins.
Corned Beef on Wry
Although we didn’t appreciate it at the time, we were lucky to have the Sisters of Mercy as teachers. Sisters Suzanne, Sister Brian and Sister Elise were the brightest of the bright; women of great vision, energy and humor. Thank you, sister.
With a flurry of funny cards, emails, texts, and phone calls, we salute St. Patrick’s Day and our proud Green- before our time- heritage.
St. Patrick’s Day celebrations were held as early as 1737 in Boston. The first St. Patrick’s Day parade in New York was 1763. They say the Irish are a creative contention, with ready wit, a quick retort, good humor and good fellowship.
Celebrate the day everyone wants to be Irish. Slainte.
“May those who love us, love us; and those who don’t love us, may God turn their hearts;
and if He doesn’t turn their hearts,
may he turn their ankles so we’ll know them by their limping.”