Posted tagged ‘Evacuation Day’

“Strict punctuality is perhaps the cheapest virtue which can give force to an otherwise utterly insignificant character.”

March 16, 2015

Yesterday Boston broke the record for most snow ever in a winter. There were no celebrations, no sparklers or fireworks, just groaning and complaining. Snow stopped being pretty about 13 or 14 inches ago. It snowed here as well, and the night was cold with a howling wind. I was lying in bed listening and thinking in black and white about Dracula or the Wolfman.

The morning was busy starting with the dentist at ten. It was an interesting experience. First I had a different hygienist then came the coup de foudre. The new hygienist’s chair was heated and had three different massage settings. It was wonderful. My back felt better and my teeth were whiter.

I also stopped in a couple of other places for St. Patrick’s Day stuff, and I wanted to check to see if the store had cut up turnip. They did not but did cut it for me. Now I just have to skin it. Tomorrow will be the rest of the shopping.

I went to St. Patrick’s Grammar School so we always had March 17th as a holiday. The public schools in my town didn’t have the day off, but those in Suffolk County which included Boston did. It was for Evacuation Day which celebrates the date when the British troops evacuated Boston during the American Revolutionary War. Nobody really calls it that. They all call it St. Patrick’s Day.

When I was a kid, I walked everywhere and was never late. In winter I got to school in the morning with enough time to freeze while waiting in the school yard for the bell. At the movies I ended up eating half my candy before the cartoon even started. In high school I’d wait for the bus, and if it was raining, my hair and shoes always got soaked. I used to tell my students that punctuality is the sign of a civilized society. They were never impressed.

I don’t like waiting for people who are late. It seems as if they don’t care about keeping me waiting. They always have an excuse.

If I’m alone and not expected anywhere, time doesn’t matter. I move at my own pace. The day is broken into activities, not hours. I don’t even wear a watch.

” St. Patrick’s Day is an enchanted time – a day to begin transforming winter’s dreams into summer’s magic.”

March 17, 2013

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!! I am, of course, wearing green. With a name like Ryan, green is an essential part of today’s wardrobe. Gracie too is dressed for the day and is wearing her St. Patrick’s Day collar. Tonight I will dine on traditional corned beef and cabbage with my friends. I checked the TV for St. Paddy’s Day movies and had two channel choices. I can watch TCM and Finian’s Rainbow or Syfy and Leprechaun, a movie about a maniacal, murderous leprechaun. I’m opting for Finian.

I went to St. Patrick’s Grammar School, and we never went to school on St. Patrick’s Day. Boston schools never did either only because it is also Evacuation Day, the day the British left Boston harbor during the Revolutionary War. Why that event has a holiday of its own I’ll never understand, but that piece tends to get overlooked and even forgotten. It is St. Patrick who is honored today.

My parents had many parties. I remember their smoke-filled kitchen was always packed with people, mostly relatives, and they always sang. I, with the worst of all voices, comes from a family which loves to sing. On St. Patrick’s Day they sang every song, and that’s how I learned the words. Of all the people, it’s my Dad I remember the most. I can still see him standing by the counter near the table. He had this great voice, and he sang with such vigor his face would sometimes turn red from the effort. He loved the Irish songs. My Dad also loved corned beef and cabbage, and my mother always made it for him. When I was there for one St. Patrick’s Day dinner, my Dad gave my dog Shauna a dish of corned beef. It was her first St. Patrick’s Day, and my Dad thought she ought to celebrate. One time the potatoes in the corned beef and cabbage disappeared: they fell apart and were absorbed. My Dad hunted through that pot in vain. He just couldn’t understand where they went. He was horrified when he realized there were no potatoes. He was a lover of meat and potatoes, and the loss of  those potatoes was a blow he never forgot. It became a family story: St. Patrick’s Day and the disappearing potatoes.

Even if you’re not Irish, celebrate the day. We don’t celebrate enough so grab any day you can and enjoy it!!

“St. Patrick’s Day is an enchanted time – a day to begin transforming winter’s dreams into summer’s magic.”

March 17, 2012

Yesterday it was in the darkness of early morning when I woke while today it was 10:30. I am as fickled as the weather. My friend Clare came by with a few St. Patrick’s day gifts and rang the bell. Gracie barked, and I woke up then tried to figure out the what day it is. I got it on the first try.

If St. Patrick’s Day was on a school day, we got it off as a holiday. After all, I went to St. Patrick’s Grammar School, and we had to honor the school’s patron saint or at least that’s what the nuns told us, but the significance of the day was always lost on us as we had no idea how to honor a patron saint, but we knew how to enjoy a day off from school. March was always the most dismal of school months with only this one day off unless Easter came early and we got Good Friday. We did thank St. Patrick but not for the reasons the nuns expected.

If you lived in and close to Boston, you also got today off from school but not for St. Patrick’s Day. Today is Evacuation Day. It is the day the British evacuated the city of Boston during the Revolutionary War. It used to be an official holiday for all schools and state workers but it was eliminated last year and now is celebrated in name only.

When I was in high school and a member of St. Patrick’s Shamrock drill team, we marched in the parade. It was the worst of all parades in which to march. Sometimes it was freezing cold. Every time, some drunk would join us for a bit of the march with a glass of beer in his hand he was more than happy to share with us. I remember the crowds along the street were loud and always cheered us for our name and for the shamrocks on our uniforms.

When I was in college, going to the St. Patrick’s day parade in South Boston was a big deal. It was a day to celebrate by wearing green and drinking a significant amount of alcohol. I remember several toasts to me by people I didn’t know that we’d met in the bars. Kathleen Ryan is as Irish a name as can be.

My mother always made corned beef and cabbage today. She was a great cook, but I do remember one year she cooked it a bit too long, and my father was mystified when he couldn’t find the potatoes. They had dissolved in the pan. He was more than disappointed.

I have no plans for today though I’m thinking I might go out for corned beef and cabbage. I can’t imagine St. Patrick’s  Day without it.