Posted tagged ‘St. Patrick’s Day’

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

March 17, 2017

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

The day is sunny and beautiful though still chilly. I was out on the deck watching Gracie. She ran with wild abandonment through the backyard. I could hear the crunch of the dead leaves and small branches as she ran. I got cold and went back inside. She stayed out a bit longer. It must have been exhausting as she and Maddie are taking their early afternoon naps.

St. Patrick has always been my favorite saint. I went to St. Patrick’s grammar school, belonged to St. Patrick’s parish, and when I was 10, I started marching in St. Patrick’s Shamrocks, a drill team. I was in the juniors and only had practice Saturday mornings at the armory just beyond Stoneham Square. The armory was a wonderful old brick building. On the first floor were military banners and flags and, in one room, a pool table. Upstairs was a large open room where we practiced. It was smaller than the fields for the summer competitions so we learned our maneuver in pieces which were put together once we got outside on the field. We practiced twice a week, Tuesdays and Thursdays and, once the season started, some Sunday mornings before we left for the competitions. We also marched in parades, including the St. Patrick’s Day parade in South Boston. We were naturals as we had a shamrock in the middle of our uniform blouses and between the skirt and blouse was a sash with one bit of yellow, a shamrock. Our colors were green and white. The crowds watching the parade were huge. We got lots of applause.

My parents always celebrated St. Patrick’s Day. Some years they’d have a party, and the house would be filled with people. There was always lots of singing at every one of my parents’ parties especially on St. Patrick’s Day. The kitchen was the party hub. I can still picture my dad and my uncle Jack standing together by the table with an arm on each other’s shoulders as they sang When Irish Eyes are smiling. Their voices were filled with such joy and exuberance. That memory from so long ago is one of my favorites.

“It had been like swallowing a gust of October wind.”

October 15, 2016

The morning came late for me, finally. I woke up at 7:30. The day is chilly but the sort of chill you know won’t last. When I went out to get the papers, I saw smoke from my neighbor’s chimney. She had turned on her heat to ward off the cold of last night. Another neighbor was returning after walking her dogs. We exchanged pleasantries and commented about the chill.

I have a few things to do around the house: a wash, putting in the second storm door and watering plants. Life is back to the humdrum.

Gracie and I are heading to the garden center. It is pumpkin time. I’ll buy a few for my front steps, a few different size pumpkins. I’ll also buy some gourds, the last of the garden fresh vegetables and some bread.

Gracie is snoring and sleeping on the couch. The two cats are sleeping in their usual spots. Their morning rituals never change.

Moxie is an acquired taste. It is like drinking medicine. I don’t know anyone who drinks it. A lot of people never even heard of it. I don’t like Dr. Pepper either. I love A&W root beer, and I love how it foams when you pour it. Right now my drink of choice is fresh apple cider. It is the drink of fall.

When I was a kid, I always had a school bag. When I was really young, my school bag was almost like a briefcase, square with buckles to close it and a strap which went across my body. It was sometimes plaid. When I was older, my school bag was the green one with rubber inside to protect the books from the rain. It had a drawstring. When I was teaching, I had a blue briefcase. I always liked carrying it. It made me feel a bit important.

When I became an administrator, I stopped needing a briefcase. I switched to a backpack and used it as a handbag, a purse. My first one was nylon. Now my backpacks are leather. The one now was made in Vermont, is black, and the leather is soft. It is my winter bag. My summer bag is canvas, a messenger bag. It is getting close to switching time.

“Springtime is the land awakening. The March winds are the morning yawn.”

March 18, 2016

Spring arrives this Sunday. I have this visual of winter packing its duffle bag while spring is unpacking its flowered tote. Spring, being experienced in the passing of the baton, will have packed a few sweaters and maybe a pair of bright yellow galoshes.

According to the weatherman, parts of the state will get snow on Sunday. I think it is just so wrong no matter how you look at it. If I were in charge, I’d make a law which prohibits snow once winter has skulked away. Luckily, we here on the cape will get mostly rain.

The sky is ominous in some spots right now. The weatherman has predicted afternoon showers. Gracie has her well dog visit to the vets this afternoon, and we’ll also go to the dump. That’s the spoonful of sugar.

St. Patrick’s Day was wonderful. Dinner was perfect. Everything was cooked just right. The meat was tender and delicious as were the vegetables. I love cabbage, but I don’t understand why. Its strange smell when it’s cooking seems to hang around far too long. I’m guessing one of the reasons I like it is I was an adult before I tried it for the first time so I brought no childhood food nightmares with me to the tasting.

When I was a kid, there were certain foods I hated. Beans, as you know, is one of them. Peaches have fur I can’t get passed though even if I could, I don’t like the taste. Over time I do keep trying the foods I wouldn’t eat. I came to love turnip. As for beans, no matter how many times I try beans of different varieties I still don’t like them. The only bean I’ll tolerate, actually the only bean I like, is green beans in that wonderful casserole which has been around for millennia. I grew into liking carrots by themselves instead of eating them mashed and mingled with potatoes the way my mother served them to us. Actually duped, not served, is the better verb here. My mother was being very clever and quite sly. It took a while before I realized potatoes didn’t turn orangey when cooked.

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

March 17, 2016

St. Patrick became part of my life when I was six. I went to St. Patrick’s Elementary School for eight years. From age 10 until age 16 I was a member of St. Patrick’s drill team. We were called the Shamrocks. Our uniforms were adorned with shamrocks. The color guard had one in the middle of their blouses and on the sash between the blouse and the skirt. The drill team also had shamrocks on their sashes. We represented St. Patrick’s parish, though, most times we used just St. Pat’s. The parish considered St. Patrick’s Day a holiday so we had no school.

When I was in college, my friends and I used to go to South Boston to watch the parade and visit the pubs. I do believe we often missed chunks of the parade while exploring those pubs. With a name like Kathleen Ryan, I was always welcomed. Two of my friends were Polish but on March 17th they were pseudo Irish. I think every one was.

My mother always made corned beef and cabbage with carrots, potatoes, onions and turnip. I’ve told you the famous story of the disappearing potatoes, but I like it well enough to tell it again. One St. Patrick’s day my dad was at the pot using a large spoon to fill his dish with the vegetables. His dish already had meat, carrots and onions on it. He wasn’t fond of turnips. He kept turning the spoon in the stew pot without picking up any more vegetables. Finally he asked my mother if she had forgotten the potatoes, his favorite vegetable. No, she hadn’t and nor would she ever. She took over the spoon and went hunting, but, like my father, found no potatoes. They had disappeared. That a leprechaun made off with them was always a possibility, but the truth was they had pretty much fallen apart having been in the liquid too long. There were a couple of small clumps but that was it for the potatoes. I had never seen a more disappointed look on my father’s face than when he realized the potatoes were gone.

My friends are serving corned beef and cabbage tonight. I’ll wear my Ryan sweatshirt and my shamrock socks.

May the Irish hills caress you.
May her lakes and rivers bless you.
May the luck of the Irish enfold you.
May the blessings of Saint Patrick behold you.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

“May your pockets be heavy and your heart be light, May good luck pursue you each morning and night.”

March 17, 2015

We’re back to rainy and bleak. We’re also back to cold as it will get down to 18˚ tonight. This melt and freeze cycle is creating  potholes all over the roads. I’ve been lucky so far as I’ve seen the holes in time to avoid them. Some people weren’t so lucky as a few hub caps are lying near the biggest holes.

What’s left of the snow is ugly. More of it will disappear because of the rain. All the roads are finally clear of the icy ruts. I’m just hoping the combination of the clear roads, rain and 18˚ won’t cause black ice.

My mother, father, two aunts, my 80-year-old grandfather and I visited Ireland together. It was my second trip there. It was the first for everyone else. I loved traveling with my parents and my grandfather was a trooper. He kept right up with us. One aunt always went with the flow; however, the other aunt I would have sold to the Irish Travellers whose caravans we saw throughout Ireland. She had a couple of heavy suitcases filled with enough clothes for an around the world trip. Every night my dad had to haul them out of the van to her room and then back to the van in the morning. We generally stayed only one night in each spot, usually a B&B, so why she needed both suitcases I never understood. I did ask and she said she didn’t know we would be stopping night by night. She thought we’d stay in one place. That still didn’t explain the amount of clothes and why both suitcases every night. I suggested she bring in what she needed just for the night and the next day, and she got huffy. That aunt is only five months younger than I am; she is number 8, the baby of my mother’s family. That gave her a strange sense of entitlement. Huffy should have been her middle.

My father loved boiled dinners, corned beef and cabbage for those of you living outside of New England. My mother would make the dinner a couple of times a year and always on St. Patrick’s Day. My favorite memory is one dinner when the potatoes disappeared. My mother was filling my dad’s plate with the carrots, cabbage, onions and meat. She used her spoon to hunt for the potatoes. There were none. She saw a couple of lumps of what might have been potatoes floating but that was the only sighting. When she brought dinner to my dad, he wanted to know right away where the potatoes, his favorites, were. My mother admitted she thought they disintegrated. My dad rushed out and hunted through the pan. He didn’t find any either. It became a family legend: the year of no potatoes.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

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

March 17, 2014

 My parents sometimes had a party to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, and the house would be filled with friends and relatives. The smoky kitchen was always standing room only and it was where all the music happened, all the singing of Irish songs. My dad comes to mind, and I can see him standing by the sink, cigarette in one hand, drink in the other as he sang along. My uncle fancied himself a Bing Crosby sound-alike and knew the words to every song. My mother’s friend always sat on the bench along the window, and I never saw her move from there until it was time to go home. She sometimes asked me to make her a drink. She called me Kathleen. My family had great parties.

My mother always made corned beef and cabbage. One year the potatoes, my dad’s favorite, disappeared. They sort of melted away. My dad couldn’t believe there were no potatoes and went looking in the pot himself. He didn’t find any either.

My dog Shauna, another Boxer, and I were at my parents’ house for St. Patrick’s Day, Shauna’s first. My dad adored that dog and she adored my dad and followed him everywhere, about a step behind. To celebrate that first St. Patrick’s Day my dad made Shauna a plate with corned beef, carrots and potatoes. She ate every morsel.

Today I’ll wear green. Tonight I’ll celebrate with my friends. We are, of course, having corned beef and cabbage.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

” 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!!

Molly Malone: The Dubliners

March 17, 2012

St. Patrick’s Day Parade: Dennis Day

March 17, 2012

Ill Take You Home Again Kathleen: Foster and Allen

March 17, 2012

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