Posted tagged ‘St. Pat’s drill team’

“Never try to outstubborn a cat.”

April 23, 2016

We finally have rain. It’s a bit heavier than when I woke up, but it is still a drop by drop rainstorm. I can the drops hitting the roof. It is one of my favorite sounds. I feel cozy and protected in the house, the dark house as I have lit no lights, only a couple of candles.

It would rain on the day I have to go off cape. That’s the luck of the draw. I’m heading to dinner with friends I marched with in the drill team. Many of them were also my elementary classmates. I don’t see them very often. The cape might as well be a foreign country reached only by a long flight. Other than Bill and Peg, my friends from Peace Corps days, no one comes down here, not even my family. I always find that strange.

I think a rainy Saturday was one of the worst things that could happen to me when I was a kid. In the summer, we’d still go out because it was warm, and we didn’t care when we got wet. This time of year, though, was too cold to be outside in the rain. I remember moping around the house sighing at my plight and driving my mother crazy while I was doing it. Saturday was the only day of the week that was all mine. I had no obligations and had the entire day to what I wanted, but it was ruined in the cold of an early spring rain. Finally I would read to pass the time, but I wanted to be outside. I wanted the fresh air I didn’t get being stuck in school the whole week.

The rain has stopped. The only sound is one of my cats purring. She’s the one I had to chase around the house to give her the medicine in her ears. I have now switched to liquid thinking it might be easier. I’ll know in a bit because I’m going to try and give her some. After that I probably won’t see her for a day or two. Maddie doesn’t forgive easily, and she never forgets.

“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!

“We shall meet again before long to march to new triumphs.”

August 3, 2013

The sun was here earlier but has since disappeared. It was replaced by a cloudy sky and a stiff breeze. The paper forecasts the possibility of rain. It is 72˚ now with 85% humidity. Yesterday the breeze disappeared, and the humidity was so high I turned on the air conditioner in the late afternoon. That made for a comfortable evening.

Doing nothing worked. My back is better today and I’m happier. I’m even willing to brave the roads to do a few errands. I need odd things, those not often bought: light bulbs, a flood light, paint to do my fish table and candle bulbs for the window lights. I figure I’ll reward myself with my favorite sandwich: a panini with cheddar, bacon and avocado. I’m thinking a whoopie pie for dessert and maybe some biscotti for tomorrow morning.

The laundry has made some progress. I brought it down here and leaned it next to the cellar door. I can see it from my seat, but that doesn’t matter any more. I have learned to let it sit until I’m ready.

Yesterday afternoon I heard a huge crash as if something had fallen to my deck. I went out and found nothing. I checked both the front and the back yards then I thought maybe a branch had fallen on the roof part I can’t see, but I swore whatever it was had hit the deck. Skip, my factotum, is coming on Monday so maybe he can figure it out.

In September St. Patrick’s drill team is having a reunion. I marched from 1957 to 1964. Two of my aunts marched at the beginning, 1947, when the drill tam was started. Three of my cousins also marched but years later, they being younger than I by a lot of years. Most of the comments on the Facebook page are not from my contemporaries but from that younger group. My friends and I seem to be the grand dames.

The drill team had practice once a week in the winter and twice a week in the summer, the competition season. Competitions were on the weekends, usually a Sunday afternoon but also some Friday and Saturday nights. When we didn’t have a competition, we went to one anyway. All of my friends were on the drill team. We spent a lot of time together. Our instructor, a man named John Kelley, had to be the most patient man in the world. He’d go over and over certain parts of the maneuver until he was certain we had it down pat. It was difficult in the winter as we had to break it down into parts to fit the armory dimensions where we practiced. Once the weather changed and we could get on the field or in the schoolyard we had to work at putting it all together.

We never won much in the beginning. I remember coming home and telling my parents we had come in second, and we had, but there were only two drill teams competing. I didn’t tell them that part. We eventually won several championships both in winter color guard and summer drill. The first time we won the summer championship, someone called ahead to the fire station. We got off our bus uptown and one of the fire trucks with the siren going led us through town to the church. We were almost giddy. Finally we were the champions, and we had a huge trophy to prove it!