This past weekend, I set out to walk to the grocery store, a normal weekend routine. As I got closer to my destination, I saw roads were blocked off, and then heard the distinct sound of a parade.
Of course, it was a St. Patrick’s Day parade! I had even rearranged an appointment to avoid running into the parade. And here I was, stopped dead in my tracks, having completely forgotten what time the parade started.
At first, I was a bit annoyed, because I had to be at work in a few hours. But then I couldn’t help but think of Dad, and how much he would have enjoyed the parade, even though he didn’t like the commercialization of the holiday. He would have loved seeing the police and firemen and the traditional Irish dancing groups.
And of course, the music.
So I allowed myself to just take in the scene, all of the sights and sounds.
As I’ve written before, Dad helped with the 1959 St. Patrick’s Day parade in New Orleans. I still need to do some digging research-wise to find photos from that year’s parade, but here is the scene from the 2008 affair in the Big Easy.
Embed from Getty Images
I can’t help but think of Dad on St. Patrick’s Day. I’ve already made my toast with Irish whiskey and I’ve cooked vegetarian versions of Irish stew and Colcannon. I believe I’ve mentioned before that for Dad being such a proud Irishman, he was not big on celebrating the holiday. I think he was suspicious of the cartoonish leprechauns and the focus on getting drunk (though Dad loved to have a few pints himself).
Mom was telling me today that she thinks it was more her idea to marry than Dad’s. He seemed to be in no rush to get hitched, despite the fact that he was in his mid-thirties and still single. She didn’t have to push him very hard for him to agree to go down to Mexico and get married, but I wonder what was running through his head at the time.
I think sometimes daughters find it awkward to talk to their fathers about romance, but there are questions about his relationship with Mom that will forever go unanswered now. Mothers and daughters tend to share more information like that more readily. My advice is if you want to know something about your parents, ask now. The worst they can say is no. Otherwise, you may be left wondering the rest of your life about little details of your parents’ lives before you came into the picture.
Well, if there was ever a holiday for my dad, today is the day. From what I remember as a kid, Dad was somewhat suspicious of the commercialization of St. Patrick’s Day, just as some people are of Christmas. Dad was VERY sensitive of anyone making fun of the Irish, so I think the leering leprechauns posted everywhere made Dad a bit peeved. If my mom really wanted to get under his skin, then she would tell an Irish joke. No matter how benign they were (and Mom only told G-rated jokes), Dad would never laugh. That being said, I’m guessing Dad never turned down a pint of green beer, especially if someone else was buying the round.
I do remember Dad telling the fable about how St. Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland, but as a small child, I could relate better to the goofy leprechaun on the box of Lucky Charms cereal.
When I started going to school, I loved St. Patrick’s Day, because I was usually the only person in my class who had a parent that was actually born and raised in Ireland. It made me feel special, because Ireland wasn’t just another country to me, but a magical place that my dad talked about fondly and often.
So Dad, hope they are serving pints of Guinness today on the house, wherever you are.